Pope Francis warned Italians to not let their guard down against coronavirus now that infection rates have fallen and urged them to obey government rules on social distancing and wearing masks.
Francis, addressing several hundred people in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday blessing, reacted to applause that broke out when he said their presence, albeit reduced, was a sign that Italy had overcome the acute phase of the pandemic.
“Be careful. Don’t cry victory too soon,” he cautioned them, departing from his prepared text.
Nearly 34,000 people have died in Italy from the coronavirus, the fourth highest toll in the world after the United States, Britain and Brazil.