Pope Francis cancels Cop28 trip to Dubai due to ill health

Pope Francis cancels Cop28 trip to Dubai due to ill health

Pope Francis has cancelled a trip to the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai because of health issues.

The pontiff, who turns 87 on December 16, sounded wheezy and limited his speaking at a public event on Wednesday, a day after he cancelled the trip.

"Dear brothers and sisters good morning and welcome," he said at his weekly audience, held indoors in the Vatican's Paul IV hall.

He said an aide would read his main text in his place, "since I am still not well with this flu and (my) voice is not nice".

On Tuesday, the Vatican said Francis would no longer embark on his planned three-day trip to the United Nations' climate conference, known as Cop28, on doctors' recommendations.

The trip had been due to start on Friday and see him return to Rome on Sunday.

The Vatican said Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, has flu and a lung inflammation that were causing him breathing problems.

"Although the Holy Father's general clinical condition has improved with regard to the flu and inflammation of the respiratory tract, doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip," a statement said.

The pontiff, who has made caring for the environment a priority of his papacy, wanted in some way to participate in the Cop28 discussions in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Holy See.

It was unclear if Francis might read his address to the climate conference by video link or take part in some other form.The Vatican said the pope had accepted the doctors' request "with great regret".

Francis, who has trouble walking due to a knee ailment and sometimes uses a wheelchair, arrived at his Wednesday audience walking, aided by a cane.

He was greeted in the packed audience hall by applause and chants of "Viva il papa" ("Long live the pope").

Francis was hospitalised earlier this year for three days for intravenous treatment with antibiotics of what the Vatican then said was bronchitis.

The Vatican said the pontiff in his current illness was receiving antibiotics intravenously.

In a televised appearance on Sunday, a cannula for intravenous use was visible on his right hand.

A CT scan, performed at a Rome hospital on November 25, had ruled out pneumonia, according to the Vatican.