Four Vatican Swiss Guards test positive for Covid-19

A member of the Swiss Guards giving directions Keystone / Fabio Frustaci

Four members of the Vatican Swiss Guards, the colourfully dressed corps that has protected popes for 500 years, have tested positive for Covid-19, the Vatican said on Monday. They are believed to be the first in the corps to test positive.

This content was published on October 12, 2020 - 14:34

The results came in over the weekend and added to three other residents or citizens of the tiny Vatican city-state who have tested positive in recent weeks, according to a statement.

Nearly all of the 113-strong Swiss Guards are single men who live in a barracks just inside the Vatican gates. The commanders and married members live in separate apartments. All members are Swiss and Catholic.

The Vatican said all of those who had tested positive had mild symptoms. They have been isolated and tracing of those with whom they had been in direct contact was underway.

Prevention measures

The Vatican last week instituted prevention measures stipulating that everyone had to wear masks, even outdoors, and practise social distancing.

But some have noted that Pope Francis does not wear a mask at his general audiences and sometimes comes in relatively close contact with visitors, who are wearing masks.

Some of his closest aides have not been wearing masks at the audiences.

On Friday surrounding Italy topped 5,000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day for the first time since March. The country is set to ban private parties and limit the numbers of guests at weddings and funerals among new restrictions aimed at curbing a surge in coronavirus infections.

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