Silvio Berlusconi: Italy’s former PM tests positive for coronavirus
The controversial former Italian leader, 84, served as Prime Minister of Italy in four governments from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006 and 2008 to 2011. Mr Berlusconi had previously tested positive for coronavirus.
Now the former Prime Minister has been rushed to hospital in Moneco as a result of heart problems, his personal doctor told Italy’s ANSA news agency.
Alberto Zangrillo said Mr Berlusconi should be immediately transferred to a nearby hospital because he did not think it prudent to bring him to Italy, which is some 15 km (10 miles) from the small city-state.
Sources said the leader of the centre-right Forza Italia (FI) party will return home in a few days.
His illness comes as Italy has been hit by political chaos after a junior coalition party quit the government, depriving it of a majority in parliament.
Silvio Berlusconi taken to hospital with heart problem
Mr Berlusconi had a heart valve replaced in 2016 and had been staying at Valbonne near Nice where he had been staying during most of the pandemic.
The former Prime Minister contracted the deadly virus back in September last year.
Two of his children also became infected, as did his companion Marta Fascina.
After leaving hospital, Mr Berlusconi said: “Thank heavens, thanks to the doctors, I got over what was perhaps the most difficult ordeal of my life.
“Once again, I seem to have got away with it!”
Despite contracting the virus, he continued to work on the campaign for those standing for his party during the local elections in the same month,
His personal physician at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital said he had not suffered from any symptoms of the virus but decided to take a test following a recent trip to Sardinia.
The Mediterranean Island reported a sharp increase in cases following the influx of tourists from around the world.
Mr Berlusconi made his way into politics in 1993 after founding his own political party, Forza Italy – which translates to “Go Italy”.
A year later he became Prime Minister after forming a coalition with the right-wing National Alliance and Northern League.
Mr Berlusconi final stint as Prime Minister ended in 2011 after he resigned in the aftermath of losing his parliamentary majority.
His political career spanning more than two decades has been dogged by controversy.
Mr Berlusconi’s last years in office were marred with allegations of corruption and tales of “Bunga Bunga” sex parties.
Back in 2009, he estimated that over 20 years he had made 2,500 court appearances in 106 trials, at a legal cost of £177million (€200m).
In October 2012, Mr Berlusconi was found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison, automatically reduced to one year under a 2006 pardon act.
However, Mr Berlusconi who was 75 years-old at the time, was only required to carry out community service of four hours a week at a care home.
The former Italian premier was also banned from holding public office for five years.
He made a return to frontline politics in 2019 after winning a seat in the European Parliament.
He is also one of the richest men in Italy having built a media empire and in 2017, he sold his shares of football giant AC Milan for more than £600 million.
Forbes magazine claimed Mr Berlusconi and his family have amassed an estimated fortune of £5bn.
More to follow…