Pope Is Expected to Be Released From the Hospital on Saturday

Pope Francis is expected to be discharged from the hospital on Saturday, the Vatican said on Friday, after he was unexpectedly hospitalized earlier in the week for a respiratory infection, prompting concern worldwide.

The Vatican said in a statement that the pope would be permitted to leave the hospital after undergoing some final tests on Friday.

The pope was being treated with antibiotics for bronchitis, according to the Vatican, which has otherwise given few details about his condition.

The Vatican said Francis would take part in Palm Sunday service in St. Peter’s Square this weekend for the start of Holy Week celebrations.

Reporters and television crews loitered in a grassy area in front of the hospital, hoping to catch a glimpse of activity behind the windows of the suite where the pope was resting.

Matteo Bruni, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement that Francis had eaten pizza for dinner on Thursday and that his recovery had been “normal.”

He also said Francis ate breakfast, read some newspapers and began to work on Friday.

“I am sure he’s going to make it — he has such a strong spirit,” said Annamaria Montio, 33, a physiotherapist student at the Policlinico A. Gemelli hospital in Rome, where Francis was admitted for a series of tests on Wednesday.

She said that Francis, who has experienced a number of other health issues, had been in good hands at the hospital, where Pope John Paul II had also been admitted.

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