A couple take pictures in a deserted St. Peter's Square on March 6 after the Vatican reported its first coronavirus case, saying it had suspended outpatient services at its clinic after a patient tested positive. (Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)
The Vatican today reported its first coronavirus case and has suspended outpatient services at its health clinic after a patient tested positive for Covid-19.
Spokesman Matteo Bruni, who said the discovery was made yesterday, confirmed that the clinic’s emergency services will continue.
The clinic inside the city state, which has around 1,000 residents, will be deep-cleaned, he said.
The clinic is used by priests, residents and employees, including those now retired, as well as their relatives.
The Vatican is getting in touch with all those who had passed through the clinic recently.
No details have been provided on whether the person who tested positive was a Vatican employee or among the clergy or guards who live inside its walls.
The Vatican has said that Pope Francis, who missed a week-long Lent spiritual retreat for the first time in his papacy, is suffering only from a cold that is "without symptoms related to other pathologies."
Japan is cancelling an annual ceremony marking the anniversary of the deadly 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster as the country steps up efforts to control the coronavirus, officials said.
The decision comes a day after Tokyo and Beijing confirmed a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping has been postponed, while Tokyo said the country will quarantine people coming from China and South Korea for two weeks on arrival.
Globally, the coronavirus has claimed 3,383 lives from 98,704 confirmed cases, mostly in mainland China, with South Korea, Italy and Iran the worst-affected countries elsewhere.