Pope Francis has been warned of potential exposure to COVID-19 after a Vatican diplomat was infected, Australian media reported on Friday.
Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, the Holy See’s ambassador to Australia, had a face-to-face meeting with Francis at the Vatican on Oct. 6, less than two weeks before testing positive with COVID-19 in Australia, Nine News reported. Australian authorities said a diplomat who flew into Sydney on Oct. 9 had tested positive for the coronavirus. The diplomat tested positive 10 days after he started quarantining at home in the national capital Canberra, the Australian Capital Territory Health Department said in a statement. The department said the risk of infection was “low” for the two people who drove the diplomat 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Sydney to Canberra. Australia’s Health Department said in a statement on Friday “all relevant international state parties have been notified.”
At 83 and with part of a lung removed when he was in his 20s due to illness, the pope would be at high risk for COVID-19 complications. He has urged the faithful to comply with government mandates to protect public health.
On Friday, the Vatican's Swiss Guards, Pope Francis' security corps, said that two more of their officers tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total infection tally to 13.
A coronavirus cluster among the Swiss Guards is a source of serious concern for the pope, given that part of their job is to be close to him.