Eleven members of the Swiss Guard, which protects the pope, have contracted coronavirus, adding to fears over the pontiff’s head.
On Monday, four men became the first members of the Guard to test positive and a further seven cases were announced today. The Vatican is reportedly now trying to find out who the infected guards might have had contact with. The guards stand watch outside the Vatican and tend to accompany the pope to official events. Pope Francis, 83, is particularly vulnerable to Covid-93 because of his age, weight and having lost part of one lung during a childhood illness. He is frequently monitored for the virus. Pope Francis (left) is seen at a ceremony for new recruits to the Swiss Guard in the Vatican on October 2. The guards, pictured here standing to attention on October 4, are immediately recognisable by their stripy costumes, ruffs and plumed helmets and are a favourite sight for tourists visiting the Vatican. Francis has been criticised in recent weeks for appearing to ignore social distancing rules and not wearing a mask when addressing large crowds at St. Peter’s Square. He has also been photographed kissing the hands of several people he has met in his duties.
However, the gregarious Argentine appears to have heard the criticism and this week promised to be more vigilant.
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