Vatican City

The Vatican Secretary of State and his deputy have both tested positive for the coronavirus, Vatican officials said Tuesday.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin Jun 2021

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin smiles during a meeting at the Bellevue palace in Berlin, Germany on 29th June, 2021. PICTURE: AP Photo/Michael Sohn/File photo.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who serves as the Vatican's Secretary of State and the Pope's number two, has “very light” symptoms, while Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra is asymptomatic, officials said.

There was no immediate comment on their last contact with Pope Francis. It wasn't clear if Francis has received a booster shot, which has been administered to his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

These are the first cases of COVID-19 confirmed so high up in the Vatican hierarchy since the pandemic began.

The Vatican has required its employees, most of whom live in Italy, to be fully vaccinated. 

Italy, which surrounds the tiny and sovereign Vatican City, reported 83,403 COVID-19 related cases on Monday, against 149,512 the day before, while the number of deaths rose to 287 from 248.