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Rome: Pierpaolo Sileri, Italy's vice-minister of health, on Saturday said that he had contracted novel coronavirus.

"A few days ago, I came into contact with someone who was later discovered infected," Sileri said in a statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

"As soon as I realized I had symptoms (of COVID-19), I isolated myself and started working remotely," he said.

Sileri said, "I immediately followed all the protocols indicated by the Ministry of Health," he said. "My wife and baby are doing well, and even though we live in the same house, we have divided the rooms between us."

By making his infection known, Sileri joins a growing list of high-profile officials infected that includes Nicola Zingaretti, president of the region of central Lazio and head of the Democratic Party, Alberto Cirio, president of the northern region of Piedmont, Army Chief of Staff Salvatore Farina, and Ministry of Education Vice-Minister Anna Ascani.

As of the latest update from health officials, nearly 15,000 people in Italy have been infected by the virus. The outbreak has claimed the lives of at least 1,266 people.