According to the Vatican, Pope Francis is suffering from a "respiratory infection" and will therefore spend "a few days" in the hospital. The investigations at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome had shown that the 86-year-old pontiff had contracted such an infection, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Wednesday evening. The pope was therefore tested negative for the corona virus.
The Pope was taken to the hospital on Wednesday after complaining of breathing problems, Bruni also said. The infection that has now been identified requires "a few days of appropriate medical treatment in the hospital". Earlier on Wednesday, the Vatican had said that the head of the Catholic Church had been taken to the hospital for "planned" examinations.
The Pope has been suffering from health problems for a long time. In July 2021, the Pope had an operation on his intestines at the Gemelli Hospital. Francis has also been struggling with knee pain for a long time. The 86-year-old has been using a cane or a wheelchair for months.
The physical ailments of the pope had fueled speculation that the head of the church might resign. At the end of July last year, he announced that he wanted to travel less because of his health problems. He must "save his strength a little" or "otherwise think about the possibility of stepping aside".
In February of this year, however, Pope Francis declared that resignation was "not on my plan at the moment". In the coming month he is to visit Hungary and meet there with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.