Pope Francis’s personal physician dies of Covid-19 complications

Pope Francis said the Vatican would begin Covid-19 vaccinations next week and he is in line for it.

Pope Francis waving his hand from a Vatican balcony.
Pope Francis. Photo: Annett Klingner from Pixabay

PRETORIA, January 10 (ANA) – Pope Francis’s personal physician Fabrizio Soccorsi has died of coronavirus (Covid-19) complications, US TV news station CNN reported on Sunday, citing the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Soccorsi, 78, was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli hospital for a previous health issue on December 26, 2020, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.

“As Francis’s personal physician, Soccorsi travelled with the pope on his international trips. During his visit to Fatima, Portugal, in May 2017, Pope Francis laid two bunches of white roses before the statue of the Virgin Mary for Soccorsi’s daughter, who was critically ill and died the following month,” the agency said.

L’Osservatore Romano reported that Pope Francis chose Soccorsi as his personal physician in 2015.

Italy is one of the countries most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Figures on real time data portal Worldometer indicate that Italy has registered 78,755 Covid-19-related deaths – the second highest toll in Europe and sixth highest in the world.

The Independent UK reported that the pontiff will soon receive the coronavirus vaccine, possibly in the next few days.

In an interview with Italian TV station TG5, Pope Francis said the Vatican’s vaccine roll-out would commence this week and that he had already booked an appointment. He reportedly said that he felt “ethically everyone should receive the vaccine”.

He added that by not taking the vaccine, people were not only putting their own health at risk, but also that of others.

Meanwhile in the UK, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip received their first dose of the inoculation on Saturday. The queen is 94 and her husband is 99.

According to France 24 News, a royal source said the vaccines were administered by a household doctor at the queen’s Windsor Castle residence, adding that she made the news public to counter any speculation.

– African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet

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