Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi tests positive for Covid-19

2 September 2020, 17:52 | Updated: 2 September 2020, 21:52

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly tested positive for Covid-19
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Italy's 83-year-old former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for coronavirus.

He is currently self-isolating at his home in Arcore, Lombardy, just outside Milan, according to a statement issued by his staff in the Italian publication Ansa.

Mr Berlusconi will continue to contribute to the electoral campaigns of candidates from the Forza Italia party, which he leads, for September's scheduled local elections, the statement added.

The controversial former prime minister has led four governments for a total of nine years until being forced out during his final stint in 2011.

His illness was confirmed by both his party and his doctor Alberto Zangrillo, who is head of anaesthesia and resuscitation at Milan's San Raffaele hospital, Blog Sicilia reported.

Mr Berlusconi's doctor also said he was asymptomatic and tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Read more: Pope holds first public audience in months

Read more: Cheap steroids cut risk of death in critically ill coronavirus patients

The media tycoon has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2019 and is also the president of the Serie A football club AC Milan.

In 2013, Mr Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud, however he was only required to carry out community service.

He also caused controversy in Italian politics for his so-called infamous "bunga-bunga" sex parties.

On 7 June 2016, he was admitted to the San Raffaele hospital with heart problems, after which his doctor confirmed that he had suffered from a stroke which could have been fatal.

In March of this year, the Italian politician was reported to have split up with his long-term girlfriend Francesca Pascale, 34, and has now begun a relationship with a woman 53 years younger than him - 30-year-old Marta Antonia Fascina, an MP from his party.

A statement from his Forza Italia said a "deep friendship" remained between him and Ms Pascale, who told La Repubblica she was "astonished" by the announcement.

This story is being updated...