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Vatican staff member quarantined because of suspected coronavirus infection

POPE AUDIENCE

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Aleteia - published on 03/02/20

Employees of the Vatican's Communications Department were sent a letter advising them of the precautionary measures taken.

(From the editorial team of “Il sismografo”)

Here is the text of the email sent to the employees of the Communications Department, signed by the Prefect, Paolo Ruffini, and the Secretary, Fr. Lucio Ruiz, informing them that a person in the team—a non-Italian priest—is in voluntary quarantine at his home waiting for the final results of a clinical test for the coronavirus.

March 2, 2020:

Dear colleagues,

We wish to inform you that, as a precautionary measure, as of Sunday, March 1, one of our colleagues who works at Palazzo Pio is observing a period of quarantine that is expected to be very limited. He is doing so because within his religious community in Rome (the college of St. Louis of the French) there was the case of a confrere (Editor’s note by Il sismografo: Fr. Alexandre Comte) who tested positive for the coronavirus using the swab test. The positive diagnosis was given in France, the country in which this person is now located. From the information received, it appears that this person last stayed in the religious community of Rome in about mid-February, after having made some stops in northern Italy during one of his trips. This was before before he then left by plane for France.

Our colleague is well and presents no symptoms; quarantine for him and all the other members of his religious community is prescribed by health protocols as a precautionary and preventive measure. The competent health authorities—with whom the Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the State of Vatican City State is in contact—will determine whether the quarantine should indeed continue in the next few days, since the last time the person who tested positive for the coronavirus swab test stayed in the religious community in Rome dates back—as mentioned—to mid-February. In that case, the 14 days foreseen in the health protocols for the application of the quarantine regime would already have elapsed.

The health protocols, confirmed by the Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the Vatican City State, do not mandate restrictions or limitations for so-called “secondary cases”, i.e. indirect contact with a healthy person who has been placed in quarantine. Therefore, there are no particular provisions or measures concerning Palazzo Pio at the moment.

As a prudential measure, the Directorate of Health and Hygiene of the Vatican City State has in any case provided for the sanitation and cleaning of our colleague’s office and other common areas.

We will keep you informed in case of further news of interest to our working community.

A cordial greeting,

Paolo Ruffini

Prefect

Bishop Lucio Adrian Ruiz

Secretary

Human Resources

Secretariat for Communication

Directorate for General Affairs – Human Resources

00120 Vatican City

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