Pope Francis has cancelled his planned day trip to Malta on May 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Vatican made official what was widely expected, given Italy's nationwide lockdown to try to contain the virus and Malta's decision to bar air traffic from Italy.
Italy is the epicentre of Covid-19 in Europe, registering nearly 60,000 infections and more than 5,400 deaths.
The May 31 trip had been Francis' only confirmed foreign trip of 2020. The Vatican said it would be rescheduled.
He had hoped to travel to Iraq this year, but those hopes were dashed after the security situation deteriorated following a US air strike that killed an Iranian general.
Francis was also rumoured to be planning a trip to Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea. But local church officials in East Timor said that trip too, was off.
Despite the virus, Francis is continuing to meet daily with his top advisers.
A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference
In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.
Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.
For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.
Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.