NRI Dunia
Think Outside The Box

Pope wears mask, warns against political exploitation of coronavirus

Pope Francis, seen wearing a mask for the first time in public, said on Wednesday no one should seek political gain from the coronavirus and that vaccine developers should not see it as a chance to make a profit.

At his second weekly general audience with public participation after six months of virtual audiences, the pope was seen wearing a white mask as he entered and left his car and using sanitizer occasionally squirted onto his hands by an aide.

He asked about 500 people in the Vatican’s San Damaso courtyard to remain in their seats to keep social distancing and told them in the address that the pandemic should spur everyone to work for the common good.

“Unfortunately, we are witnessing the emergence of partisan interests. For example, there are those who want to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, such as (developing) vaccines and then selling them to others,” he said.

“Some are taking advantage of the situation to foment divisions, to create economic or political advantages, to start or intensify conflict,” he said, without specifying.

The pandemic and the quest for a vaccine have become hot-button issues in the US presidential campaign between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.