Donald and Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19

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US President Donald Trump and wife Melania have tested positive for Covid-19, the president has said in a tweet.

The news came after it was announced on Thursday that senior Trump aide Hope Hicks had tested positive.

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

Mr Trump is now expected to be in quarantine for two weeks while facing treatment for the disease.

The president is 74, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.

Vice president Mike Pence said he and his wife Karen are sending their “love and prayers” to Mr Trump and his wife.

Mr Pence, who tested negative for the virus on Friday morning, said on Twitter: “We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.”

Sean Conley, physician to Mr Trump, said: “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.

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

“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.”

On Friday, Mr Trump had been scheduled to receive an intelligence briefing, attend a fundraiser and hold another campaign rally in Sanford, Florida, but the White House released a revised schedule with only one event: a phone call on “Covid-19 support to vulnerable seniors”.

The positive tests for the Trumps come as stark reminders that the coronavirus continues to spread, even as Mr Trump has tried to suggest it no longer poses a danger.

Instead, Mr Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters.

On Thursday, he tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!

“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”

Ms Hicks who serves as counsellor to the president and travelled with him to a rally on Wednesday, tested positive on Thursday.

The 31-year-old is the closest aide to Mr Trump to test positive so far.

The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than seven million nationwide.

Ms Hicks travelled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate against Joe Biden.

Donald Trump visit to Scotland
Hope Hicks, shown at the Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie, has tested positive to Covid-19 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Trump’s age and weight are likely to put his medical team on alert as they monitor his condition.

Some studies suggest Covid-19 patients who are obese may be at higher risk of being seriously affected by the virus, although it is unclear whether that is because they are more likely to have other health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. In his 2019 physical, Mr Trump met the technical threshold for obesity.

The news was certain to rattle an already shaken nation still grappling with how to safely reopen while avoiding further spikes of the disease.

The White House has access to near-unlimited resources, including a constant supply of quick-result tests, and still failed to keep the president safe, raising questions about how the rest of the country will be able to protect its workers, students and the public as businesses and schools reopen.

Mr Trump, the vice president and other senior staff have been tested for Covid-19 daily since two people who work at the White House complex tested positive in early May, prompting the White House to step up precautions. Everyone who comes into contact with the president also receives a quick-result test.

Mr Trump has been widely criticised for his public responses to the coronavirus, including his refusal to wear a mask in most situations (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Mr Trump continued to shake hands with visitors long after public health officials were warning against it. He also initially resisted being tested.

He has been reluctant to practice his own administration’s social distancing guidelines for fear of appearing weak, including refusing under almost all circumstances to wear a mask in public.

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.

“White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the president and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the president is travelling,” he added.

Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic has already been a major flashpoint in his race against Democrat Mr Biden, who spent much of the summer off the campaign trail and at his home in Delaware because of the virus.

Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (AP)

“I don’t wear masks like him,” Mr Trump said of Mr Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

There was no immediate comment from the Biden campaign on whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at the debate with Mr Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols.

Mr Biden tweeted his prayers to Mr and Mrs Trump, adding: “Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery.”

Mr Trump is not the only major world leader known to have contracted the virus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent time hospital, including three nights in intensive care, where he was given oxygen and watched around the clock by medical workers, while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was also infected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel self-isolated after a doctor who gave her a vaccination tested positive for the virus, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau worked from home after his wife fell ill.

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