Pope Francis hospitalized with respiratory infection

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Pope Francis gestures on a wheelchair as he gives his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on January 11, 2023. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Pope Francis hospitalized with respiratory infection

The Vatican on Wednesday, disclosed that Pope Francis has been hospitalized with respiratory infection.

“Pope Francis has a respiratory infection and will need to spend a few days in hospital in Rome, the Vatican says.

The 86-year-old had breathing difficulties in recent days but does not have Covid, a statement said.

It said he would need “a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy”.

“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” the statement added.

It was said the same hospital where the pope underwent a surgical operation on his colon in July 2021 after suffering from a type of diverticulitis, an inflammation of pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine.

The Argentine was said to have remained at hospital for 10 days after the surgery.

The Argentine pontiff suffers from chronic knee pain that has confined him to a wheelchair in recent months.

The pope had to cancel or curtail activities several times last year because of pain and in a July 2022 interview he affirmed that he needed to slow down.

Many expressed worries over his health as it has also been the frequent subject of speculation.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, who died in December, also quit over health challenge in 2013.