Pope Francis has said he is ‘saddened’ by Coronavirus rule breakers who are disregarding travel restrictions during the pandemic and that they need to be mindful of the suffering of others.
Speaking after his weekly afternoon blessing on Sunday, Francis said he had read newspaper reports of people taking flights to escape government curbs and seek fun elsewhere.
‘They didn’t think about those who were staying indoors, of the economic problems of many people who have been hit hard by the lockdown, of the sick people. (They thought) only about going on holiday and having fun,’ Pope said.
‘This really saddened me,’ he added in a video address from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
‘We don’t know what 2021 will reserve for us, but what all of us can do together is make a bit more of an feat to take care of one another.
‘There is the temptation to take care only of our own interests,’ he added.
Many countries have imposed hard restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has killed some 1.83 million people worldwide.
Pope Francis came out in public on Friday for the first time since skipping New Year’s masses at St Peter’s Basilica because of a bout of sciatica.
Standing behind a desk and next to a Christmas tree and a nativity scene, the pontiff led the traditional Angelus prayers in the Apostolic Palace.
‘I send you all my best wishes for peace and tranquility in the new year,’ he said.
The painful incidents which marked the life of humanity last year, in particular the pandemic, taught us how important it is to take an interest in the problems of others and share their concerns.’
The Vatican declared publicly on early hours of Thursday that Francis would be unable to celebrate New Year’s masses, Thursday evening and Friday morning because he was suffering from sciatica, a chronic nerve condition causing hip pain for the 84-year-old.
Shortly before Christmas, two cardinals in the pope’s suite contracted Covid-19, raising fears that Francis, who rarely wears a mask, risked infection.
During Italy’s first lockdown in March, Francis initially delivered his Sunday Angelus prayers from the Vatican library instead of his usual window overlooking crowds on Saint Peter’s Square.
The restriction prompted him to say he felt ‘prisoned’, and he made various little appearances at the window, greeting the few people who ventured out into the large square.
The pope has a peril factor for the coronavirus aside from his advanced age. When he was 21 years old in 1957, he suffered from severe pleurisy, requiring surgery to remove part of his right lung, according to biographer Austen.
The Vatican has not yet suggested when pope Francis may be vaccinated against Covid-19.