Pope Francis has been admitted to the hospital with a respiratory infection. The 86-year-old as per the Vatican will have to stay in the hospital for a few days. While a COVID-19 infection has been ruled out, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni in a statement revealed that "in recent days Pope Francis has complained of some breathing difficulties." As per AFP, the pontiff was admitted to Rome's Gemelli hospital for medical checks. Upon checkup, he was revealed to have been suffering from "a respiratory infection... that will require a few days of appropriate hospital medical treatment."

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The Pope, who recently completed 10 years as the head of the Catholic Church, was unexpectedly taken to the hospital "for tests". Local media reported he was taken in an ambulance.

While the Pope's staff claimed that the tests had been pre-scheduled, Italian media has thrown doubt on this. They say that the pontiff actually had an interview scheduled for "this afternoon" (Wednesday) and that it was cancelled at the last moment.

The Vatican said that the Pope's schedule has been cleared to make way for further tests and that "Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer."

During his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis as per Reuters appeared to be in good spirits. AFP reports that the head of the Catholic church suffers from chronic knee pain and in recent months has been forced to use a wheelchair because of that.

(With inputs from agencies)

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