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Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis is scheduled to take his first trip outside of Rome since the coronavirus lockdown, AP reports.

The big picture: Italy was one of the earliest hubs of COVID-19, prompting tight social distancing requirements and travel restrictions to contain the virus. The Pope's last trip was in late February when he traveled to the the town of Bari in southern Italy.

  • He will visit Assisi next month to sign a letter to the clergy and Catholics worldwide, per the Vatican. The document, called an encyclical, is anticipated to highlight the importance of camaraderie throughout the pandemic.
  • "Because of the health situation, it’s the desire of the Holy Father that the visit be carried out privately, without any participation by the faithful," the Vatican noted in a statement.

Go deeper

Pope Francis congratulates Biden in phone call

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Thursday, thanking him for "extending blessings and congratulations" and praising the pope for his leadership in "promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world," according to the Biden transition team.

The big picture: Biden will be the second-ever Catholic president, joined only by John F. Kennedy.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months: