Donald Trump and wife Melania will ‘stage strong recovery from COVID-19’, says PM

Donald Trump and his wife Melania have tested positive for coronavirus.

The US president confirmed on Twitter that he and the first lady have contracted COVID-19, saying: “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

Mr Trump is now expected to self-isolate for two weeks while facing treatment for the disease, with his diagnosis coming just one month before the US election on 3 November.

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020

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The president is 74 years old and his health records earlier this year showed he is categorised as obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent time in intensive care with COVID-19 in April, said: “I think we all want to send our best wishes to the president and the first lady.

“I’m sure that they’ll both stage a very strong recovery.”

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PM sure Trump will stage ‘strong recovery’

Mr Trump’s physician Sean Conley said the president and first lady would remain at the White House during their period of isolation.

He said: “Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”

Writing on Twitter, Mrs Trump said: “As too many Americans have done this year, (the president) & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

“We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his “sincere support” to Mr and Mrs Trump “in this difficult moment,” according to the Kremlin.

It said Mr Putin sent a message to the US president which read: “I hope that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus.”

Before testing positive for COVID-19, Mr Trump had said he and his wife were self-isolating after Hope Hicks, one of his top aides, had contracted the virus.

Ms Hicks, who serves as a counsellor to the president, is the closest aide to Mr Trump to test positive for coronavirus so far.

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Trump on aide testing positive for COVID

She had travelled with the president several times over the last week, including on presidential helicopter Marine One, and on Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate.

Mr Trump had earlier appeared to blame soldiers and law enforcement officials for Ms Hicks contracting the virus.

He told Fox News: “It’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement and they come over to you and they want to hug you and they want to kiss you.

“You get close and things happen.”

Several White House staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent months, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, and one of the president’s personal valets.

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Trump Timeline: Where has he been?

Mr Pence tweeted that he and and his wife Karen “send our love and prayers to our dear friends President Donald Trump and Melania Trump”.

“We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery,” he wrote. “God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has tested negative for the virus, said he was reconsidering his upcoming trip to Asia as a precaution.

“We’re taking this obviously very seriously,” he said. “We are praying for the president and first lady that they’ll have a speedy recovery.”

Why the president's age and physical condition put him at higher risk from COVID-19

Why the president’s age and physical condition put him at higher risk from COVID-19

According to his White House schedule, the president was due to host a phone call on Friday on “COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors”.

His positive test come as the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate in the US, even as Mr Trump has tried to downplay the threat of the disease.

More than 200,000 people have died in the US after contracting COVID-19 and more than seven million people in the country have been infected with the disease.

But Mr Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies which have drawn thousands of supporters during the pandemic.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota, on September 30, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Image:Mr Trump addressed a packed rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday

His diagnosis now throws into question the nature of the rest of the campaign, including the remaining two presidential debates.

The next debate is scheduled for 15 October in Miami.

Two days before testing positive, during the first debate, Mr Trump belittled his Democratic challenger Joe Biden for frequently wearing masks and not having campaign rallies that matched his own in size.

Analysis: Trump's COVID-19 bombshell puts US election in uncharted territory

Analysis: Trump’s COVID-19 bombshell puts US election in uncharted territory

The president continued to shake hands with visitors despite public health officials warning against it and also initially resisted being tested. Mr Trump also refused to wear a mask in public under almost all circumstances.

In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said: “The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”

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Mr Trump is not the only major world leader known to have contracted COVID-19.

Mr Johnson tested positive for the virus in March before being admitted to hospital the following month, while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was diagnosed with the illness in July.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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