Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been hospitalized after testing positive for the novel coronavirus and early-stage double pneumonia, media reports said on Friday. According to Italy's ANSA news agency, the 83-year-old former leader spent Thursday night at the San Raffaele Hospital here for checks, the BBC reported, adding that he was tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

Berlusconi's right-wing Forza Italia party said his condition was not a cause for concern. "A small precautionary hospitalization was needed to monitor the progress of COVID-19 but he is fine," said Forza Italia senator Licia Ronzulli.

Condition Not Worrying

Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi Wikimedia Commons

The media tycoon's 30-year-old partner, Marta Fascina, and two of his children have also tested positive. Berlusconi had been in self-isolation with Fascina at his villa in Arcore near Milan, after holidaying in Sardinia, a region where the COVID-19 infection rate is much higher than the rest of the country.

Earlier his personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo described him as asymptomatic. On Thursday, Berlusconi sent a message to party activists in Genoa, saying" "I'm continuing to work as best I can on the current election campaign".

Source of Infection Unknown

Separately, he said he did not know how he had caught the virus, the BBC reported. Italy will hold regional elections on September 21-22, which had to be postponed at the height of the pandemic earlier this year.

Berlusconi, a billionaire media tycoon, served as Prime Minister four times and last year was elected to the European Parliament. His career has been dogged by sex scandals and allegations of corruption. He was convicted of tax fraud in 2013 and ejected from the Italian Senate. But later his ban from public office was lifted.