ROME – Four members of the Swiss Vatican Guard, the elite and color-clad corps defending the pope, have tested positive for Covid-19, the Vatican said Monday.
“They are all experiencing symptoms and are isolated,” the statement said. “We are in the process of verifying who was in direct contact with them.”
The results came over the weekend and were added to three other residents or citizens of the small Vatican City State who took tests in recent weeks, the statement said.
They are considered to be the first in the hull with positive tests.
Almost all the guards are lonely men living in a barracks right outside the Vatican gates. Commanders and married members live in separate apartments. All members have Swiss citizenship.
Last week, the Vatican introduced prevention measures that require everyone to wear masks, even outdoors, and practice social distancing.
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But some note that Pope Francis does not wear a mask to his general audience and sometimes comes into relatively close contact with visitors who wear masks.
Some of his closest aides also did not wear masks to the audience.
Italy on Friday surpassed 5,000 new Covid-19 cases in one day for the first time since March.
The country is set to ban private parties and limit the number of guests at weddings and funerals, among new restrictions aimed at curbing the rise in coronavirus infections.