IT SHALL NOT COME NIGH THEE: Pope tests negative for coronavirus

Pope Francis has tested negative for the coronavirus after displaying flu-like symptoms in recent days.

Pope Francis submitted to the swab test as a precaution after coming down with an illness days after he expressed support for patients suffering from the deadly virus, according to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.

The 83-year-old pontiff could be seen coughing on Sunday as he addressed thousands for his weekly blessing from St Peter’s Square. During the event, he announced that he won’t be attending a Lenten spiritual retreat in the Roman countryside.

The Vatican had not previously specified what was ailing Francis, though the announcement comes as the coronavirus sweeps Italy. The country has seen 52 deaths due to the virus and the number of confirmed cases reached 1,835 on Tuesday.