The previous day he had kissed heads and touched faces as he met with crowds in St Peter’s Square, saying he had solidarity with those suffering from coronavirus. Italy is currently in the grips of a coronavirus outbreak that has seen towns in the north placed on lockdown and travellers from the region spread the infection to previously unaffected areas of Europe.
The capital, Rome, had three cases, but all three infected patients were cured, officials said. Coronavirus is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It causes respiratory symptoms similar to a cold or flu and like other respiratory infections, it spreads between people in droplets from coughs and sneezes.