Pope on the mend as antibiotics target bronchitis

Pope on the mend as antibiotics target bronchitis

Pope Francis prepared to spend a third day in hospital Friday after doctors said he was responding well to antibiotics for bronchitis and could be discharged "in the coming days".

The 86-year-old pontiff was admitted on Wednesday for what the Vatican said were pre-planned tests, after complaining of breathing difficulties.

But he appeared to quickly rally and by Thursday morning was feeling well enough to eat, pray and work from his private suite in Rome's Gemelli hospital.

He was suffering an "infectious bronchitis which required the administration of antibiotics", medical staff said in a statement late Thursday.

The treatment has seen "a marked improvement in his state of health" and Francis could be back home in the Vatican "in the coming days", it said.

His admission sparked widespread concern.

The Argentine, who had part of one of his lungs removed as a young man, has suffered increasing health issues in recent years, and it was his second stay in hospital since 2021.

The pope's illness has raised questions over whether he will be at services in the Holy Week and Easter, Christianity's most important holiday.

Francis, who earlier this month marked 10 years as head of the Catholic Church, would normally preside over the celebrations, which kick off this weekend with Palm Sunday.

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