Italy's former PM Berlusconi tests positive for coronavirus

RomeUpdated: Sep 02, 2020, 11:19 PM IST
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File photo Photograph:(Reuters)

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Berlusconi recently returned home from a holiday in Sardinia

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for coronavirus and is currently in isolation at home, the staff of the 83-year-old media tycoon said on Wednesday.

Alberto Zangrillo, Berlusconi's personal physician at Milan's San Raffaele hospital, told AdnKronos news agency the former premier had no symptoms but had decided to test for COVID-19 because of his recent stay in Sardinia.

Berlusconi recently returned home from a holiday in Sardinia, which saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in August as tourists from all over the country descended on the Mediterranean island.

Berlusconi will continue working from his house in Arcore, near Milan, and to support the campaigns of candidates from his centre-right Forza Italia party at local elections scheduled for September, a statement by his staff said.

Italy, which has suffered one of Europe's worst outbreaks of COVID-19 with over 270,000 confirmed cases and some 35,500 deaths, has managed to contain the contagion since a peak in fatalities and infections in March and April.

However, the country recorded a steady increase in new cases in August, with experts blaming gatherings of people associated with holidays and nightlife.

Politicians across the political spectrum sent support messages to Berlusconi, a four-times prime minister.

"I want to wish Silvio Berlusconi a speedy recovery on behalf of our members. He will fight this new battle forcefully," centre-left Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti, who also recovered from COVID-19, wrote on Twitter.