Shafaq news/ Pope Francis was seen today Tuesday, for the first time wearing a protective face mask as he attended a traditional general meeting with other religious leaders.
The Pontiff – known for a fondness for close personal contact – however quickly removed the mask as he emerged from the car carrying him to the audience, which was suspended in February over the coronavirus pandemic.
At his second meeting since suspending general audiences on February 26, the crowd thronged behind a barrier and some even lowered their masks to greet the leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Pope shook hands with prelates attending the audience and, smiling, then turned to the crowd, urging them not to shake hands and to return to their seats in order to "avoid contagion".
Francis focused on the socio-economic impact of the pandemic which he said was "without barriers".
He advocated a society in which people should have more solidarity with their neighbors.
Pope Francis, whose birth name is Jorge Bergoglio, has shown little fear for his health since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic early this year.
Before he had never appeared with a mask and had continued to receive visitors within the Apostolic Palace – albeit fewer groups than before.
Last Thursday he shook hands with a group of French actors committed to defending the environment.
The 83-year-old Pontiff found it difficult to wear a mask that restricted his breathing, a member of his entourage said.