More Swiss papal guards test Covid-19 positive

Papal guards in masks, as seen in the Vatican on Saturday Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Thirteen members of the Vatican Swiss Guards, the colourfully dressed corps that has protected popes for 500 years, have now tested positive for Covid-19, according to the latest update by officials.

This content was published on October 24, 2020 - 11:08
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This is up by two on last week, the Swiss Guards saidExternal link on Friday evening.

“No member of the guards has been hospitalised. Not all the guards [with the virus] show symptoms like fever, aching limbs, coughing and loss of smell,” the statement said.

The health of those affected is being monitored, in conjunction with the Vatican’s health services.

“We hope that everyone will get better soon, so the guards can take on their duties again in the best of health and in safety,” the statement added.

Nearly all 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.

Prevention measures

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

However, Associated Press noted that when Pope Francis met with the Spanish prime minister Saturday at the Vatican, neither man used a face a mask during the public part of their meeting. 

The Swiss Guards have previously said that further measures had been taken for its members, including adjusting the shift planning, “in order to rule out any risk of an infection at the service posts where the Vatican Swiss Guards are in service”.

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