Pope Francis taken to hospital for tests after struggling with flu

Pope Francis taken to hospital for tests after struggling with flu

Pope Francis was taken to hospital for tests after struggling with the after effects of flu, according to the Vatican.

He was taken to the Gemelli Hospital on Tiber Island before leaving again under escort after a short visit.

It came after the 86-year-old was pushed in a wheelchair into the audience hall at the Vatican for Wednesday’s papal audience.

In recent weeks he has walked the short distance to his chair, but he has been struggling with mild flu symptoms the past week.He also cancelled appointments Saturday and Monday due to the flu, but appeared as usual for the Sunday blessing from a window overlooking St. Peter's Square.Last week, Francis coughed repeatedly as he presided over Ash Wednesday services at a Roman church, and opted not to participate in the traditional procession that inaugurates the church's Lenten season.The Argentine pope had part of one lung removed as a young man because of a respiratory infection, and in 2021 had a chunk of his colon removed because of an intestinal inflammation.

He has been using a wheelchair and cane since last year because of strained knee ligaments and a small knee fracture that have made walking and standing difficult.The Pope used his brief words at the end of Wednesday's audience to mark the 25th anniversary of the ratification of the Anti-Personnel Mines Convention, expressing his "closeness to the numerous victims of these insidious devices that remind us of the dramatic cruelty of war."He also appealed for peace in the Middle East, Ukraine and prayed for the victims of attacks in Burkina Faso and Haiti.At the end of the audience, he spent about an hour greeting the faithful from his wheelchair, stopping to talk, bless babies and exchange gifts.