Pope Francis has cancelled his trip to Dubai for the UN climate conference on doctors’ orders, even though he is recovering from the flu and lung inflammation, the Vatican said.

The announcement marked the second time the pope’s frail health has forced the cancellation of a foreign trip.

He had to postpone a planned trip to Congo and South Sudan in 2022 because of knee inflammation, though he was able to make the trip earlier this year.

Francis revealed on Sunday that he had lung inflammation but said he still planned to go to Dubai to address the Cop28 climate change conference.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis was improving from the flu and inflammation of his respiratory tract that forced him to cancel his audiences on Saturday.

But he added that “the doctors have asked the pope not to make the trip planned for the coming days to Dubai. Pope Francis accepted the doctors’ request with great regret and the trip is therefore cancelled”.

Francis, who turns 87 next month, had part of one lung removed as a young man.