Ex-Italian PM Berlusconi leaves hospital after 'most dangerous' Covid-19 battle

14 September 2020, 16:11

Silvio Berlusconi reflected on his battle with Covid-19 as he was discharged
Silvio Berlusconi reflected on his battle with Covid-19 as he was discharged. Picture: AP

By Ewan Somerville

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been released from hospital after an “insidious” battle with coronavirus. 

The 83-year-old said doctors at San Raffaele hospital in Milan told him he had the highest viral load they had seen, despite having analysed tens of thousands of samples over the past six months. 

He urged Italians to “rigorously” adhere to face mask and social distancing guidelines and take coronavirus seriously. 

“I overcame what I consider perhaps the most dangerous challenge of my life,” he said. 

The politician and media tycoon, who was known for overcoming setbacks while leading four governments at intervals between 1994 and 2011, added: “I can say with satisfaction that I dodged the bullet.”

Mr Berlusconi, tested positive for Covid-19 on 2 September and was admitted to hospital two days later with early signs of pneumonia.

He has a pacemaker and has suffered heart problems in the past.

Read more: Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi tests positive for Covid-19

Silvio Berlusconi held a press conference in Milan as he left hospital
Silvio Berlusconi held a press conference in Milan as he left hospital. Picture: AP

He did not require intensive care, but his doctor Alberto Zangrillo said he almost certainly would have died if his infection occured in March when Lombardy’s hospitals were overwhelmed.

Appealing directly to Italian students, who returned to school for the first time since March on Monday, Mr Berlusconi added: “I saw firsthand that until the circulation of the virus is halted, each of us — even acting responsibly — risks being infected and infecting others.”

More than 35,000 people have died after contracting the virus in Italy, which became an epicentre for infection during the early days of the pandemic.

Figures show men aged 80 to 89 in the country have the highest mortality rate, at 46 per cent.

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