Pope Offers Free COVID Testing At Vatican For Homeless Population

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Patrick Hauf Contributor
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The Vatican will offer free COVID-19 tests for poor and homeless people in Rome, it announced on Thursday. 

The free testing will be a part of the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of the Poor on Sunday, according to Reuters. The free swab tests will be conducted at clinics off St. Peter’s Square that Pope Francis established in recent years to help treat the less fortunate.

When homeless individuals test negative, they are given a certificate allowing them to enter a shelter, per Reuters. Those who test positive are then given further treatment. (RELATED: Pope Francis Vows To Rid Catholic Church Of Sexual Abuse Following Vatican Report Examining Decades-Long Scandal)

Sunday will mark the fourth annual World Day of the Poor, which was established by Pope Francis in 2017 and occurs every 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Catholic Church calendar. 

Pope Francis waves prior to hold a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican on September 16, 2020 during the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement from the Vatican comes one day after Italy surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases, placing it in the top 10 most infectious countries, according to a Reuters tally. The country has been reporting roughly 30,000 new daily cases every day this week. The rapid breakout in recent weeks has led Italy’s government to shut down all nonessential stores in four regions of the country, according to the Associated Press. (RELATED: Vatican Report Examines Cover Up Of Cardinal McCarrick’s Decades-Long Abuse)

Italy was one of the first countries to be hit hard by COVID-19 earlier this year. The country has more than 40,000 coronavirus deaths, according to Worldometers.