Europe

Italy's Berlusconi 'stable' after coronavirus hospitalisation

ROME (AFP) – Italy’s flamboyant former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was “stable” Saturday (Sept 5), two days after being hospitalised with coronavirus, his doctor said.

The 83-year-old media tycoon is being treated for a lung infection at San Raffaele hospital in Milan where he was admitted on Thursday night.

“The clinical condition of Silvio Berlusconi remain stable,” his doctor Alberto Zangrillo said, adding that his patient’s condition was “evolving regularly and expectedly, generating cautious but reasonable hope”.

Mr Berlusconi had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week after returning from a holiday at his luxury villa on Sardinia’s jet-set Emerald Coast.

Dr Zangrillo said at a news conference on Friday that Berlusconi was not on a ventilator.

The billionaire is “a patient at risk because of his age and previous illnesses,” the doctor said, adding that he should remain in hospital for “a few days”.

Mr Berlusconi, who has had a long but scandal-plagued political career, announced Wednesday that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was in quarantine at home.

Two of his children – daughter Barbara, 36, and son Luigi, 31 – have also contracted the virus, as has his companion Marta Fascina.

Mr Berlusconi, who once owned the AC Milan football club, had insisted on Wednesday that he would continue his political activities.

“I will be present in the electoral campaign with interviews on television and in newspapers,” he said during a video-conference held by the women’s movement of his Forza Italia party.

Regional elections are due to take place in two weeks as well as a referendum on reducing the number of Italian parliamentarians.

The twice-divorced Mr Berlusconi, famed for his steamy dinner parties, grabbed headlines in March after he reportedly split from his longtime girlfriend Francesca Pascale to date Fascina, an MP from his party who is over 50 years his junior.

At the time, the dating antics of the man at the centre of the famous “bunga-bunga” soirees brought Italians a welcome distraction as the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on the country.

Mr Berlusconi is the latest in a line of celebrities and prominent people who have contracted the coronavirus since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China, in December last year.

The list includes Paris Saint-Germain football players including Brazilian star Neymar, as well as movie stars Tom Hanks and Robert Pattinson, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and heir to the British throne Prince Charles.

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