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Vatican offers free Covid-19 tests to homeless

Source : 112 Ukraine

Rome's poor and homeless offered free coronavirus tests in St Peter's Square
17:40, 12 November 2020

Open source

Pope Francis is offering free coronavirus tests for Rome’s poor and homeless as part of the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of the Poor activities, Reuters reports.

The tests are provided at a clinic under the colonnades of St Peter’s Square - established at the request of Pope Francis several years ago - which offers the homeless showers and haircuts as well as medical services.

Related: Pope Francis leaves Vatican to make walking prayer pilgrimage in Rome for coronavirus pandemic

Archbishop Rino Fisichella told that some 50 coronavirus tests a day were being done and the initiative would continue indefinitely.

Those who test negative get a certificate to enter a shelter and those who test positive are directed to further treatment.

The pope established the World Day of the Poor four years ago to bring attention to the needy, particularly in developed countries. It is being marked this Sunday.

In past years, he has held Mass for thousands of poor people in St. Peter’s Basilica and then treated 1,500 homeless people to lunch in a Vatican auditorium.

Because of coronavirus restrictions, only 100 poor people will attend Mass in the vast basilica.

The lunch has been cancelled but about 5,000 food parcels will be delivered to poor families, including 2.5 tons of pasta donated by an Italian food company.

More than 350,000 masks will be given to students in Rome’s less affluent outskirts.

As we reported earlier, the Vatican has sought to clarify Pope Francis' comments in support of same-sex civil unions, saying they were taken out of context and do not signal a change in doctrine.

Related: Covid-19 may push up to 115 million people into poverty this year, – UN

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