Pope Francis’ deputy and another close aide of the pontiff have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Vatican said Tuesday via its official media.

Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, 67, has “light symptoms,” while Monsignor Edgar Pena Parra, the 61-year-old substitute to the secretariat of state, is “asymptomatic,” the Vatican News website reported.

Parolin is considered the Vatican’s second-in-command, akin to a prime minister, while Pena Parra is seen as holding the number three position. Both enjoy unrestricted access to Francis, who is 85 and has never been publicly diagnosed with the virus.

Parolin and Pena Parra have been vaccinated three times and are isolating in their private apartments.

Responding to the surge in omicron cases across Europe, the Vatican has recently stepped up anti-coronavirus measures, introducing mandatory certificates of COVID recovery or vaccination for all staff and visitors, and requiring high-filtration FFP2 masks to be worn in all indoor areas, including St. Peter’s Basilica.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.