ROME — As the omicron variant of COVID-19 continues spreading rapidly in Italy, the Vatican press office said both Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the substitute for general affairs in the secretariat, have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Parolin, who turned 67 Jan. 17, has “mild symptoms,” according to Matteo Bruno, director of the press office. Peña, 61, is asymptomatic, he said. Both are in isolation in their respective Vatican apartments. Since Parolin signed an order in December requiring all Vatican employees to be vaccinated and to receive a booster shot, it is believed both are fully vaccinated.
The press office would not say when either of the prelates had last met with Pope Francis.
The pope had met Jan. 17 with Zeljko Komsic, chairman of the rotating presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Usually visiting national leaders would meet with Parolin after meeting the pope, but Komsic met only with Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister.