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.
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.
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.
Berlusconi's latest partner, Marta Fascina, has also caught the virus, a party official said.
When his party announced his illness on Wednesday, it said he did not have any symptoms. Berlusconi subsequently spoke via video link to a meeting of supporters on Thursday afternoon and acknowledged he had had a fever, but that it had passed.
"I no longer have fever, nor pain, I want to reassure everyone that I am quite well," he said.
Italy, hit by one of Europe's worst outbreaks of Covid-19 with over 270,000 confirmed cases and 35,500 deaths, contained the contagion after a peak in fatalities and infections in March and April.
But the number of new cases rose in August, with experts blaming seaside gatherings and night clubs.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)