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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 31,647,930 — Total deaths: 971,711 Total recoveries: 21,776,599Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 6,897,661 — Total deaths: 200,818 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: Hospitals want more time to repay pandemic loans — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
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  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

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