Leader of Italy’s Democratic Party Infected with Coronavirus

Italian left-wing party leader of the Democratic Party (Partito Democratico - PD) Nicola Zingaretti looks on during a press point after a meeting with Italian President, on the second day of consultations of political parties, on August 22, 2019 at the Quirinal palace in Rome. - The Italian President began …
VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

Nicola Zingaretti, leader of Italy’s Democratic Party and governor of the nation’s Lazio region, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Zingaretti — who is the first leading politician in Italy to have come down with the virus — took to social media on Saturday to inform the public not to worry, assuring the Italian people that he is “fine.”

“Well then, it has arrived. I too have the coronavirus,” began Zingaretti nonchalantly in a video posted to his Facebook account on Saturday afternoon (GMT+1 time). “Obviously, I will follow all the protocols, which are the same protocols for everyone.”

“I am fine, and have chosen to be at home in isolation,” added the Democratic Party leader and governor of Lazio, which houses Italy’s capital of Rome. “I am at home, and I will continue following the protocols from home. My family is also following the protocols.”

Zingaretti added that the Azienda Sanitaria Locale (ASL) — the center of administrative operations regarding Italy’s public health care — is reaching out to people who have recently been in contact with the governor, so that they can undergo the necessary medical screenings to check for the coronavirus.

“I have informed the vice president of the regional council, as well as the deputy secretary of the Democratic Party, Orlando,” said Zingaretti.

“Don’t panic,” he added. “I will set a good example by following the recommendations of the doctors, and I will fight [the coronavirus], as it is the right thing to do for the country at this moment.”

“I am fine, but I will have to stay home for the next few days,” said Zingaretti. “From here, I will continue to work. Courage to all, and I will see you soon!”

Meanwhile, the governor of Lombardy — the region at the epicenter of Italy’s coronavirus crisis — Attilio Fontana, has self-quarantined.

Matteo Salvini, senator and former Italian deputy prime minister, who has been known to clash politically with Zingaretti, reacted to the news of the Democratic Party leader testing positive for the coronavirus by wishing him a speedy recovery and noted that engaging in political controversy is not appropriate “when health is involved.”

“To the secretary of the Democratic Party Nicola Zingaretti, who tested positive for the virus, I wish you a speedy recovery,” said Salvini. “It is not normal to make controversy when health is involved!”

On Friday, it was discovered that one of Salvini’s police escorts had also tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a report by La Repubblica.

Salvini later took to social media to inform the public that he is fine and has never been in contact with the police escort who tested positive for the virus.

“I am okay,” said Salvini. “I have never been in contact with the policeman who could be positive, and obviously I will do everything that the health authorities ask me to do, like any other citizen.”

“Those who manage to create controversy over a possible disease — and in some cases are wishing me death — do not deserve a response,” added the former deputy prime minister.

In Italy, 49 people have died due to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, which brings the death toll from 148 on Thursday to 197 as of Friday. So far, a total of 4,636 people in Italy have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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