Pope Francis cancels trip due to coronavirus

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has canceled his planned day trip to Malta on May 31 due to the coronavirus.

The Vatican on Monday made official what was widely expected, given Italy’s nationwide lockdown to try to contain the virus and Malta’s decision to bar air traffic from Italy. Italy is the epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe, registering nearly 60,000 infections and more than 5,400 deaths.

The May 31 trip had been Francis’ only confirmed foreign trip of 2020. The Vatican said it would be rescheduled.

He had hoped to travel to Iraq this year, but those hopes were dashed after the security situation deteriorated following a U.S. airstrike that killed an Iranian general. Francis was also rumored to be planning a trip to Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. But local church officials in East Timor said that trip too, was off.

Despite the virus, Francis is continuing to meet daily with his top advisers.

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