Four Vatican Swiss Guards test positive for coronavirus

ROME — Four members of the Vatican Swiss Guards, the elite and colorfully dressed corps that protects the pope, have tested positive for Covid-19, the Vatican said on Monday.

“They are all experiencing symptoms, and are in isolation,” the statement said. “We are in the process of verifying who has been in direct contact with them.”

The results came in over the weekend and added to three other residents or citizens of the tiny Vatican city-state who have tested positive in recent weeks, according to a statement.

They are believed to be the first in the corps to test positive.

Nearly all of the guard are single men who live in a barracks just inside the Vatican gates. The commanders and married members live in separate apartments. All members have Swiss nationality.

The Vatican last week instituted prevention measures stipulating that everyone had to wear masks, even outdoors, and practice social distancing.

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But some have noted that Pope Francis does not wear a mask at his general audiences and sometimes comes in relatively close contact with visitors, who are wearing masks.

Some of his closest aides also have not been wearing masks at the audiences.

Italy on Friday topped 5,000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day for the first time since March.

The county is set to ban private parties and limit the numbers of guests at weddings and funerals among new restrictions aimed at curbing a surge in coronavirus infections.