Given the imminent threat of the coronavirus in Italy — already present in eight regions, among them Lazio, where the capital is located –, Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, announced the decision to postpone some events organized in closed places with a significant public presence.
However, the Wednesday General Audience on February 26, has not been canceled. It will be held outdoors beginning at 9:30 am.
It’s a measure flanked by others of a medical character, in the first place, the setting up of a post with “a nurse and doctor on duty for immediate assistance in the Vatican’s dispensary, in case of patients with symptoms attributed to the coronavirus,” points out “Vatican News.”
Moreover, “dispensers with hand disinfectants” have been installed in offices in which access to Vatican City is permitted.
Matteo Bruni said that the Vatican’s health personnel will implement “the procedures provided in the agreements with the Italian Ministry of Health,” in case of positivity of Covid-19 — for the time being, not detected. “The Health and Hygiene Office of Vatican City State is in constant contact with the Lazio Region and the Working group of the Health Ministry and will continue to do so and publish the recommendations made to it.”
Among the said prevention measures, the Pontifical Urban University canceled the presentation of a volume dedicated to the figure of Cardinal Celso Costantini, which was to take place this afternoon, with a large number of participants and several personalities, among them Cardinals Parolin, Tagle and Filoni.
The first case registered in the South of Italy was that of a woman of the North of the country who was on vacation in Palermo, in the Island of Sicily. The virus has also reached Tuscany, where two men — in Florence and Pistoia –, have proved positive, and in Liguria. Seven people have died in the Trans-Alpine country, and 283 are infected. The affected regions include Lazio, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Sicily.
The Vatican portal says that maximum attention is being paid to other dioceses of the North. The Diocese of Venice has suspended Masses until March 1, the same is true in Pavia, whereas in Turin, from now until March 1 pastoral activities with groups of people have been suspended, except Holy Masses. Masses are virtually suspended in all parts of Piacenza and Modena.
The Spanish newspaper “El Pais” reports that a thousand tourists staying in a hotel in Adeje (H10 Costa Adeje Palace), south of Tenerife, are isolated following directives of the Health Authorities, police sources reported.
Closing of Borders
The speed with which the virus is spreading has caused several countries to close their borders with China and also with Iran, where the number of dead has increased over the past few days. Weeks ago, Russia decreed the closing of its borders with China, and Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, and Armenia have closed their border passes with Iran.
For their part, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Bahrain have adopted preventive measures with travelers from China, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. The first cases of the virus have been detected in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, and Bahrain.
Moreover, China’s National Health Commission has published a new report regarding the novelties of the coronavirus. According to this document, the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the Asian country has reached 2,663, seventy-one more than in the previous day.