Pope tested for coronavirus after illness: report

An Italian newspaper is reporting that Pope Francis was tested for coronavirus after he fell ill and canceled a week-long religious retreat.

The pontiff also canceled most of his meetings last week.

He tested negative, according to Il Messaggero newspaper. It's believed that he's suffering from a regular cold.

But the incident underlines the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy - Europe's worst hit country with over 2,000 known cases - and Pope Francis could be at increased risk.

He's 83-years-old and had one of his lungs removed decades ago over an illness.

Coronavirus is believed to be most acute in older persons and people with underlying health issues, particularly respiratory problems.

Pope Francis may also risk exposure from his routine of public appearances.