"The Pope has been at the Gemelli [hospital] since this afternoon for some previously scheduled checks", the director of the Holy See press office said in a note Wednesday.
"In recent days, Pope Francis has complained of some breathing difficulties and this afternoon he went to the A. Gemelli Polyclinic to carry out some medical checks. The outcome of the same highlighted a respiratory infection (excluding the COVID-19 infection) which will require a few days of appropriate hospital medical therapy", a follow-up statement announced later in the evening.
Private audiences with the Pope scheduled for Thursday and Friday have been cancelled, Italian news outlets were reporting.
This comes days before the start of the busy Easter period, which opens with Palm Sunday on 2 April. The Pope usually leads the main ceremonies over Holy Week including the Via Crucis at the Colosseum and Easter Mass.
Popes are traditionally housed on the tenth floor of the Gemelli Hospital, the so-called ''Papal apartment'' where John Paul II stayed several times and also Pope Francis during his ten-day hospitalization in July 2021 after colon surgery.