Pope Francis to livestream prayer service amid COVID-19 outbreak
Vatican City: Pope Francis will deliver his Angelus Prayer and the General Audience behind closed doors and via livestream to avoid large crowds gathering at the St. Peter's Square here amid the coronavirus outbreak which has infected one person in Vatican City.
Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican's press office, told Efe news on Saturday that some residents of the Vatican had been placed in quarantine.
As a safety precaution, Francis will deliver Sunday's Angelus and Wednesday's General Audience from the library at the Apolistic Palace, from where it will be broadcast online and shared with the media.
The decision to move the papal addresses behind closed doors came after Italy passed emergency measures suspending events that draw large crowds.
Nicola Zingaretti, the president of Italy's Lazio region, home to Rome - which encircles the Vatican City - on Saturday revealed he had tested positive for the deadly virus.
He is the leader of the country's Democratic Party, which governs in coalition at a national level.
In a video shared on social media, he said he was taking all the recommended precautions and had gone into self-isolation at home.
He said his family and others who had been in close contact with him were being checked.
There are 54 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Lazio.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy stands at 5,061, while there were 233 fatalities.
Elsewhere in Italy, midweek mass services were cancelled in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, the worst-hit regions.
Sunday masses are expected to go ahead but baptismal fonts have been emptied and it is forbidden to shake hands or kiss during the ceremonies.