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Italy’s former PM Berlusconi in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus

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Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been diagnosed with the early stages of double pneumonia after testing positive for coronavirus, Italian media reported on Friday.

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Double, or bilateral, pneumonia affects both lungs and can make breathing difficult. The condition has been seen in many cases of patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

Berlusconi, 83, was taken to Milan's San Raffaele hospital on Thursday evening, two days after his Forza Italia party announced he had coronavirus.

His entourage has stressed that the four-time prime minister is not in intensive care.

"After the appearance of some symptoms, Berlusconi was admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure," Forza Italia said in a brief statement, adding that his condition was "not a cause for concern".

Berlusconi underwent major heart surgery four years ago and halted all public appearances after the coronavirus pandemic hit Italy in February, spending the initial two-month lockdown in a villa owned by one of his daughters in the south of France.

He took a coronavirus test after spending part of August at his villa on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, which has seen a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases during the bustling summer tourism season.

Italian newspapers have speculated that Berlusconi might have been infected by two of his younger children — Barbara and Luigi — who were with him in Sardinia and were also seen partying on other holiday islands last month. Both have since tested positive for coronavirus.

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