The 87-year-old pontiff was forced to skip meetings on Saturday, and although he appeared in public on Sunday to deliver his weekly Angelus message, the Vatican said his audiences on Monday had been suspended as a precaution.

"Mild flu-like symptoms persist, with no fever," a Vatican statement said.

The pope has suffered repeated health problems in recent months and was forced to cancel a planned trip to a COP28 climate meeting in Dubai in December because of the effects of influenza and lung inflammation.

In January, he was unable to complete a speech owing to "a touch of bronchitis". Later in the month he said he was doing better despite "some aches and pains".

As a young man in his native Argentina, Francis had part of a lung removed.

The pope also has difficulty walking and regularly uses a wheelchair including at a meeting last week with Argentina's President Javier Milei.

(Reporting by Alessandro Parodi, editing by Keith Weir and Crispian Balmer)