The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who has been battling an illness in recent days as the coronavirus sweeps over Italy, has been tested for the ailment.
According to Reuters quoting the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, the Pope underwent the test and was found uninfected.
There had been fears that the Pope, who showed symptoms of flu before falling ill last week, had contracted the virus which is sweeping the world.
He had cancelled all appointments for a 3 day period last week whilst he recuperated.
He was expected to join a week-long Vatican retreat for senior church officials beginning Sunday but he withdrew from that as well.
Perhaps to quell mounting panic, the Pope was tested for the virus but the newspaper claims he tested negative.
The Vatican refused to comment on the story.
The coronavirus which is gradually becoming a global pandemic is causing havoc in Italy, where 52 people have died out of the over 2,000 infected.