After falling ill, Pope Francis has been tested for coronavirus and was forced to cancel a religious retreat near Rome.

Francis who was scheduled to go for a Lent retreat did not go during his papacy because he was suffering from a heavy cold.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero this morning, the results for Covid-19 came back negative.

Comments from Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni reveal that there are no immediate comments on the report. The Roman Catholic leader, 83, who had part of one lung removed because of an illness decades ago, also cancelled most audiences last week.

Metro News reported that, Francis was to have taken part in the week-long retreat with senior Vatican officials that began on Sunday night at a Church residence south of Rome. But in a surprise announcement hours earlier, he said he would be following it from his residence in a Vatican guest house.

While speaking to thousands who gathered for his weekly appearance from a window high above St Peter’s Square, in the Vatican City, on Sunday; he said that he would not be able to attend due to a cold.

Francis asked for prayers for the Lenten retreat, saying that, ‘unfortunately, a cold prevents me from participating this year… I will be following the meditation from here’.

He has been taken ill at a time when Italy is battling a surging outbreak of the potentially deadly coronavirus.