Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for COVID-19, yet he vowed that he will continue with his political activities on Wednesday ahead of the local elections later on this month.
During a video meeting, Berlusconi was quoted by his staff as saying “Unfortunately, this too has happened to me, but I carry on fighting”.
The 83-year-old media businessman will stay in isolation in his house in Arcore, a town just north of Milan, his staff said in a statement.
Despite his condition, he will continue to provide support to the candidates of his centre-right Forza Italia political party, as they contest for local elections that are set to take place on September 20-21.
Alberto Zangrillo, Berlusconi’s personal physician at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital, told AdnKronos news agency that the Italian had no symptoms of the virus, yet had opted to test for COVID-19 after his recent holiday in Sardinia.
Sardinia has suffered from a very sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in August, with tourists from all over Italy opting to head to the island for the beautiful beaches that it possesses.
Flavio Briatore, the owner of the Billionaire nightclub in Sardinia, who is also a very good friend of Berlusconi, tested positive for the virus last month.
Numerous politicians sent messages of support for Berlusconi, with Luigi Di Maio in particular, the current Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the former leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement who was a rival of Berlusconi, wished him a very swift recovery.
In his message, Di Maio stated “I hope he will fight this battle with the strength that has always distinguished him”.
Berlusconi served as Prime Minister in four governments, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006 and from 2008 to 2011.
Apart from this, owned AC Milan from 1986 to 2017, whilst also being the controlling shareholder of broadcasting company Mediaset.
Italy is one of the worst-hit nations in Europe with regards to COVID-19 with more than 270,000 confirmed cases and 35,500 deaths due to the virus.
However, Italy has managed to somewhat contain the spread since the peak of daily fatalities and daily new cases was reached during March and April.
Despite all of this, Italy has suffered from a steady rise in new cases in August, with plenty of experts blaming this on social gatherings, mainly having to do with holidays and nightlife.