Pope Francis kisses a boy at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City on 29 March 2023. EFE/ETTORE FERRARI

Pope Francis hospitalized with respiratory infection

Vatican City, Mar 29 (EFE).- Pope Francis is suffering from a respiratory infection and will require a few days of appropriate hospital treatment, the Vatican’s press office said Wednesday.

“In recent days Pope Francis has complained of some respiratory difficulties, and this afternoon he attended the A. Gemelli Hospital to undergo some medical checks,” said Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office.

The test results showed a respiratory infection, although a Covid-19 infection has been ruled out, he added.

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayers,” the statement said.

The 86-year-old pope underwent a chest CT scan and other medical tests, the results of which gave no cause for concern, the media reported.

The Vatican’s press office had said earlier in the day that the Argentine pontiff was at A. Gemelli Hospital “for some previously scheduled checks,” but it did not provide specifics.

Pope Francis’ scheduled interview Wednesday afternoon with Italy’s RAI national public broadcasting company had to be canceled, as will his program of activities over the next two days.

The pope underwent colon surgery at that same hospital on July 4, 2021, and was released 10 days later.

Since then, his only health problem has been pain in his right knee that requires him to use a cane or a wheelchair.

The pontiff has said on different occasions that he does not want to have that joint surgically repaired because he did not respond well to general anesthesia during the 2021 surgery.

Pope Francis, who had appeared to be in good health at his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday morning, is scheduled to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass this weekend. EFE