VATICAN CITY (CNS) – As the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues spreading rapidly in Italy, the Vatican press office said both Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the substitute for general affairs in the secretariat, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Cardinal Parolin, who turned 67 on January 17, has “mild symptoms”, according to Matteo Bruno, director of the press office. Archbishop Peña, 61, is asymptomatic, he said. Both are in isolation in their respective Vatican apartments. Since Cardinal Parolin signed an order in December requiring all Vatican employees to be vaccinated and to receive a booster shot, it is believed both are fully vaccinated.
The press office would not say when either of the prelates had last met with Pope Francis.
The Pope had met on Januiary 17 with Zeljko Komsic, chairman of the rotating presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Usually visiting national leaders would meet with Cardinal Parolin after meeting the Pope, but Komsic met only with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister.
Photo: Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state (CNS Photo)