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Rome Reports

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First coronavirus case in Vatican, medical testing for those in contact with the person

The coronavirus has infiltrated the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City State, with its first positive case.

Papal spokesman, Matteo Bruni, told journalists the Vatican's hospital is temporarily not accepting new patients for normal visits. Instead, it is sanitizing the hospital, after the coronavirus case was confirmed Thursday. The emergency room will remain open, for any serious injuries or illnesses.

The Vatican's Health Department is working with Italian authorities to make sure the illness doesn't spread.

The hospital is totally separated from all pilgrimage sites.

Special care will especially be given to make sure the pope emeritus and Pope Francis, who both reside inside the Vatican, are not exposed to the sickness.

The Vatican is also investigating what to do for the pope's public events, like the Sunday Angelus and Wednesday General Audience. Both are scheduled to be carried out in the upcoming days, granted that Pope Francis is back to normal health, after his bad cold.

One idea is to broadcast the events for the public, while Pope Francis remains safely in the confines of his home in Casa Santa Marta.

Melissa Butz