US President Donald Trump tests positive for COVID-19

By Matthew Elmas

October 2, 2020

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. EPA/Chris Kleponis

President of the United States Donald Trump has tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump, 74, took to Twitter on Friday afternoon Australian time to confirm he and first lady Melania Trump had the disease, claims subsequently corroborated by White House physician, Navy Commander Sean Conley.

“The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,’ Conley wrote in a memo issued to reporters around 1:00AM US eastern time.

Conley said he expected the president will continue to carry out his duties without disruption while recovering.

Hours before reporting the positive tests, Trump tweeted he and the first lady had begun a quarantine process after White House aide Hope Hicks returned a positive test on Wednesday US time.

It is unclear what the diagnosis will mean for the upcoming US election schedule, with two presidential debates between Trump and Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, 77, scheduled in the coming weeks.

The coronavirus has made its way to the upper echelons of the US government after months of turmoil in the broader population, with more than seven million coronavirus cases and 200,00 deaths recorded across the country.

Conley said he and medical staff will maintain a close watch over the president, but did not disclose whether any assistance was being provided to the White House.

“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions,” Conley said.

It is not yet clear when the president and first lady first contracted the disease, but senior White House officials are tested regularly for SARS Covid-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Hicks had accompanied Trump to the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio earlier in the week, where other senior US politicians and aides were present.

Trump is not the first head of state to test positive for COVID-19, earlier this year UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was diagnosed with the disease and was subsequently hospitalised before recovering.

In the wake of the positive test the president moved to cancel an upcoming political rally that was scheduled for Friday US time.

More to come…

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