Pope Francis recovering after mild flu: Cardinal

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Pope Francis canceled his appointments on Monday for the second time in three days because he has mild flu, but a top cardinal said the 87-year-old pontiff was already making a full recovery.

Francis was forced to skip meetings on Saturday and although he appeared in public on Sunday to deliver his weekly Angelus message, the Vatican said his audiences on Monday had been suspended as a precaution.

“Mild flu-like symptoms persist, with no fever,” a Vatican statement said.

Later in the day, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state and second-in-command, said the pope was “fine” and had got over his influenza.

“He has recovered and has resumed his normal activity,” Parolin was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency on the sidelines of an event in Rome.

The pope has suffered repeated health problems in recent months and was forced to cancel a planned trip to a COP28 climate meeting in Dubai in December because of the effects of influenza and lung inflammation.

In January, he was unable to complete a speech owing to “a touch of bronchitis”. Later in the month he said he was doing better despite “some aches and pains”.

As a young man in his native Argentina, Francis had part of a lung removed.

The pope also has difficulty walking and regularly uses a wheelchair, as he did at a meeting this month with Argentina’s President Javier Milei.