Pope Francis has been admitted to hospital with a pulmonary infection, the Vatican has announced.
The 86-year-old is said to be expected to spend several days in the Gemelli University hospital to receive treatment for the infection. It comes after he reported breathing difficulties in recent days.
A statement issued by Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni confirmed that Francis did not have Covid-19. The statement said: “The tests showed a respiratory infection (Covid-19 infection excluded) that will require some days of medical therapy."
It comes as the head of the Catholic Church prepares to take part in Easter celebrations over the coming week. He is expected to attend several Holy Week events, including celebrating Palm Sunday on 2 April through to Easter Sunday on 9 April.
Prior to being admitted to hospital, he was said to be in good spirit by those who saw him during his general audience on Wednesday (29 March) however he was spotted grimacing while entering and exiting the 'Popemobile' vehicle. Francis was admitted to hospital after test results were returned.
Francis was notably admitted to hospital in 2021 for surgery to deal with intestinal narrowing. He spent a total of 10 days inside the medical facility.
He has also been seen using a wheelchair at points after suffering from strained ligaments and a knee fracture in 2022. The Pope has also spoken about how he had part of a lung removed as a younger man after being diagnosed with a respiratory infection.