Vatican daily stops printing amid coronavirus concerns

Reuters File Photo

Vatican's nearly 160-year-old daily L'Osservatore Romano has temporarily suspended publication amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper will be edited and can be viewed online on the publication's website, said Andrea Monda, the paper's editor-in-chief, in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that the spread of COVID-19 made it impossible to print and distribute the paper's daily, weekly and monthly editions.

"We are therefore forced to temporarily suspend the letterpress printing from March 26," the editor said, adding that the decision had to be taken, regardless of their will being otherwise.

The paper only stopped printing twice in its 159-year history. Even the Nazi occupation of Rome during World War II could not stop it from being published.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus has spread to at least 170 countries and territories.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has surpassed 428,000, while the death toll is past 19,000 and over 109,100 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Italy has become the epicenter of the virus in Europe with 6,820 deaths and 69,176 confirmed cases, as per latest figures provided by the Italian Civil Protection Department.

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