Vatican Cardinal Tagle tests positive for coronavirus

16572889178 dbd53bbfa0 k Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at St. George’s Cathedral, Southwark, in London, England, March 8, 2015. | Mazur/

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the head of the Vatican's evangelization congregation, tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, but is asymptomatic.

The Vatican confirmed Sept. 11 that the Filipino cardinal was swabbed and tested positive for COVID-19 after landing in Manila Sept. 10.

Tagle "has no symptoms and will remain in isolation in the Philippines, where he is," Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See press office, told CNA. 

Bruni said that checks were being carried out on anyone at the Vatican who recently came into contact with the cardinal.

He added that Tagle was tested for the coronavirus in Rome on Sept. 7, but the result was negative.

The cardinal, who was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in December 2019, had a private audience with Pope Francis on Aug. 29.

Tagle is the archbishop emeritus of Manila and the current president of Caritas Internationalis, a global Catholic charity network.

Tagle's is the first known case of the coronavirus among Vatican department heads. He is the second Rome-based cardinal to test positive after Rome's vicar general, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, was hospitalized for COVID-19 in March. De Donatis has made a full recovery.

Around the world, 10 Catholic bishops are believed to have died from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak.

In Italy, cases of the coronavirus are on a slight uptick after very low numbers in July. Rome's region of Lazio has almost 4,400 cases as of Sept. 11, with 163 new cases in the last 24 hours. Italy has more than 35,700 active cases overall.

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