Pope says he is 'still not well' in first appearance since cancelling Dubai trip

  • World
  • Wednesday, 29 Nov 2023

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer from Santa Marta chapel at the Vatican, November 26, 2023. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS/File photo

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis sounded wheezy and limited his speaking at a public event on Wednesday, a day after he cancelled a trip to the COP28 climate summit in Dubai because of health issues.

"Dear brothers and sisters good morning and welcome," the 86-year-old pontiff said at his weekly audience, held indoors in the Vatican's Paul IV hall.

He said an aide would read his main text in his place, "since I am still not well with this flu and (my) voice is not nice".

On Tuesday, the Vatican said Francis would no longer embark on his planned three-day trip to Dubai, starting Friday, on doctor's recommendations.

"Although the Holy Father's general clinical condition has improved with regard to the flu and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip," a statement said.

Francis, who has trouble walking due to a knee ailment and sometimes uses a wheelchair, arrived at his Wednesday audience walking, aided by a cane.

He was greeted in the packed audience hall by applause and chants of "Viva il papa" ("Long live the pope").

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, editing by Philip Pullella)

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