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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.

Behind GameStop's latest stock surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Back in focus: The meme stock trade.

By the numbers: GameStop finished up 19%, after a wild day that saw shares spike as much as 80%.

AT&T spins off U.S. video business via deal with TPG

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

AT&T is spinning off three of its video services, including its satellite TV brand DirecTV, to create a new standalone video company called New DIRECTV.

Details: The company will be jointly owned by AT&T and private-equity giant TPG. AT&T will retain a 70% stake and TPG will own 30% of the firm.