Two more Swiss Guards test positive for the coronavirus

CNA 5cd07451bf8ea 154852 The Swiss Guard swearing in ceremony at the Vatican on May 6, 2019. | Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

The Pontifical Swiss Guard announced Friday that two more of its members have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The world's smallest but oldest standing army said in a statement Oct. 23 that a total of 13 guards had now contracted the virus, following tests on every member of the corps. 

"No guards were hospitalized. Not all guards necessarily show symptoms such as fever, joint pain, coughing, and loss of sense of smell," the unit said, adding that the guards' health would continue to be monitored.

"We hope for a prompt recovery so that the guards can resume service in the best possible way, in health and safety," it said.

The Vatican confirmed last week that an initial four Swiss Guards had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Responding to journalists' questions Oct. 12, Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni said that the four guards had been placed in isolation following positive tests.

Citing the Governorate of Vatican City State's new measures to combat the virus, he explained that all guards would wear face masks, both indoors and outdoors, regardless of whether they were on duty. They would also observe all other rules intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The corps, which has 135 soldiers, announced Oct. 15 that seven more of its members had tested positive for the virus, taking the then total to 11. 

Italy was one of Europe's worst-hit countries during the first wave of the coronavirus. More than 484,800 people have tested positive for COVID-19 and 37,059 have died in Italy as of Oct. 23, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. 

The Italian health ministry said Friday that the country had recorded 19,143 new cases over 24 hours -- a new daily record. Some 186,002 people are currently confirmed positive with the virus in Italy, with 19,821 of those in the Lazio region, which includes Rome.

Pope Francis received 38 new recruits to the Swiss Guards in an audience Oct. 2.

He told them: "The time you will spend here is a unique moment in your existence: may you live it with a spirit of brotherhood, helping one another to lead a life rich in meaning and joyfully Christian."

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