Pope Francis said Sunday he would not be taking part in a planned six-day spiritual retreat south of Rome after coming down with a “cold”.The 83-year-old pontiff suffered two coughing spells that forced him to turn away from the crowd and cover his mouth with his fist on a windy and cloudy day on Saint Peter’s Square.”Unfortunately, a cold forced me not to take part this year,” he said after reciting the traditional Angelus Prayer and addressing the unfolding migrant crisis on Turkey’s border with Greece. There have been 29 confirmed deaths and 105 people were receiving intensive care treatment in hospital — all of them in three adjacent northern regions near Milan.The Vatican quickly shot down speculation that the pope himself had come down with COVID-19.”There is no evidence to suggest a diagnosis of anything other than a slight ailment,” a Vatican spokesman told AFP Sunday.The pope himself looked relatively strong on Sunday despite the coughing fits.He smiled a few times and addressed a range of theological issues before turning his attention to the plight of thousands of migrants from Turkey who have been blocked at the rugged frontier with Greece. “I am a little saddened by the news coming from many displaced people, so many men, women and children chased because of war,” Francis said.The pontiff asked the faithful to share a prayer for “so many migrants who seek refuge in the world — and help”.Faithfuls listen to Pope Francis’ speech as he delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican on March 01, 2020. (AFP/ Filippo MONTEFORTE) Italy shuts down Concerns about the pope’s health have been mounting for days in a country where mass closures of public institutions and businesses due to the coronavirus are affecting the lives of millions.He first looked like he might be sick on Wednesday and lightened his workload for the rest of the week.The Vatican used the “mild ailment” term for the first time on Thursday to explain why the pope was spending his day around his Saint Martha’s guest house in the Vatican.But he still continued celebrating the morning mass and receiving visitors even as football matches were being cancelled and businesses were telling their employees to work from home.He met with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church head Sviatoslav Shevchuk on Saturday and spent almost 15 minutes speaking on Sunday from his Vatican window.The Argentine-born pontiff has enjoyed a life of good health despite losing part of a lung as a young man and suffered from sciatica — a nerve condition that causes pain in his hip.Yet he rarely cancels appointments and normally takes extra time to mingle with supporters and the faithful.Topics : The annual retreat will still start Sunday but only include members of the Roman Curia administration team of the Holy See.The pope will be staying home while the rest of Italy battles Europe’s worst outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has spread from China to every continent except for Antarctica.Pope Francis wipes his nose during the Ash Wednesday mass which opens Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for Christians before Holy Week and Easter, on February 26, 2020, at the Santa Sabina church in Rome. – Pope Francis postponed his official appointments on February 28 and was working from home, the Vatican said, a day after cancelling a scheduled appearance at mass because of “a mild ailment”. Francis, 83, had appeared earlier in the week to be suffering from a cold. He was seen blowing his nose and coughing during the Ash Wednesday service, and his voice sounded hoarse. (AFP/Alberto PIZZOLI)The number of cases in Italy surpassed 1,000 on Saturday and the toll continues to mount.
Adam Lallana was irritated by the criticism aimed at him following Southampton’s complaint against referee Mark Clattenburg, according to goalkeeper Kelvin Davis. Press Association The club’s complaint about Clattenburg’s alleged remarks during the Premier League defeat by Everton on December 29 was thrown out by the Football Association and the referees’ governing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL). The official was accused of telling Lallana: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.” Despite the club rather than the player raising the matter, Lallana has been widely ridiculed, something that initially upset the attacking midfielder. However, club captain Davis has been impressed by his response, highlighting his decisive strike in last weekend’s 4-3 FA Cup defeat of Burnley as a sign of his resilience. “I think for the first day he was a bit like ‘why is everyone coming for me?’,” he said. “He made a remark after the game, conversations happen and the end result was the end result. “But anyone that knows Adam knows that first of all he is a good pro, a good lad, a good person. I think after the first day or two he realised that himself, that he hadn’t done anything wrong, he shouldn’t be feeling anything negative about himself and then he banged a goal in against Burnley. That kind of epitomises where he is mentally.” Davis captained the side at Goodison Park and hopes everyone can “move on” from the Clattenburg debate, allowing team-mate Lallana’s talent to be focused upon. A place in England’s World Cup squad is looking increasingly likely for the Saints academy graduate as his rise from League One to be one of the country’s best continues apace. “As he gets older, he has got that bit of belief that what he was doing in the Championship he can step up and do at a higher level,” Davis, in goal when Lallana made his Saints debut against Yeovil in August 2006, said. “I think as well when he first had the Southampton armband, you could see it kind of held him back a little bit. But now the way he has matured, he doesn’t find that a weight now. Again, that comes down to belief. “The manager coming in at the time he did and working closely with him has helped. “The way he has been treated from the very top of the club with his new contract has helped the way he has developed, with the England call-up probably that final turning point in his head. “He has a real opportunity to really become a very good player at this level, so he is obviously great to have around the place.” Lallana will no doubt be key on Saturday if the Saints are to overcome West Brom when they return to league action. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have won just one of their last nine league matches, but veteran goalkeeper Davis is confident they can now kick on. “We’ve looked at certain things ourselves this week, maybe what made the difference in our performances and maybe the difference in us picking up results,” he said. “We’ve played well and not picked up points in that period. We’ve evaluated what we have done in the first half of the season and it is how can we recreate that for the second half of the season. “We have got some fixtures, in terms of the Christmas period, out the way and there is time between games to prepare. “We are in a position in the league where we are still looking up, so it is about those little tweaks and it is about individuals and as a team putting little things right which decide whether you win games or lose them.”