Top Vatican official, aide test positive for COVID-19

A top Vatican official and an aide tested positive for COVID-19, making them some of the highest-ranking people in the Vatican hierarchy to contract the coronavirus since the pandemic began. 

The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has the coronavirus, according to officials on Tuesday. The pope’s No. 2 reported “very light” symptoms, The Associated Press reported.

Aide Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra is asymptomatic, the officials said.

It is unknown when the two individuals last had contact with Pope Francis, who underwent surgery last year and spent weeks recovering, according to the AP. 

It is also unclear if the pope has received the COVID-19 booster shot, although he has been vocally supportive of the vaccine since it was created. 

The pope even canceled the New Year’s Eve visit to a nativity to discourage others from going to crowded areas while the coronavirus is causing a surge in cases.