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Trump, Melania test positive for COVID-19

By Lalit K Jha
Last updated on: October 02, 2020 14:02 IST
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United States President Donald Trump said on Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a development that is likely to affect his hectic election campaign.

 

IMAGE: US President Donald Trump applauds first lady Melania Trump during an event on reopening schools amid the coronavirus in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC. Photograph: Reuters

'Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!' 74-year-old Trump tweeted.

In a statement, Trump's physician Dr Sean Conley said the president and the first lady 'are both well at this time', and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.

'Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering,' Conley added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Trump and the first lady a quick recovery.

'Wishing my friend @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS a quick recovery and good health,' Modi tweeted.

Trump's physician said he received confirmation of the positive tests on Thursday evening.

'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.

Trump's all engagements outside of the White House were cancelled.

He was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey.

'As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & 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,' Melania tweeted.

Trump's 'diagnosis amounts to the most serious known health threat to a sitting American president in decades', the CNN said.

'At 74 years old, Trump falls into the highest risk category for serious complications from the disease.'

'His infection with the disease could prove destabilizing in an already fraught political climate, and stock market futures tumbled on news of Trump's infection,' it said.

Vice President Mike Pence said millions across America were praying for the full and swift recovery of the president and his wife.

'Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania,' Pence tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the strength of the entire country is with President Trump and the first lady.

'America stands united. Our country stands strong. Your President will continue to put the People first!' McEnany tweeted.

The White House issued a new schedule to reflect several cancelled events, including a campaign rally in Florida.

'The President hosts a phone call on COVID19 support to vulnerable seniors,' said the new daily guidance from the White House.

In the middle of the election campaign, Trump has been travelling a lot in particular in the battleground States.

The development is likely to bring to standstill his hectic campaign for the November 3 presidential election.

On Tuesday night, Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden had their first presidential debate.

The second presidential debate is scheduled for October 15, which falls immediately after the mandatory quarantine period.

The third and final debate is scheduled for October 22.

Trump and Melania were tested for COVID19 hours after one of their close aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the coronavirus.

'Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for COVID-19. Terrible!' Trump said in an earlier tweet.

Hicks, 31, is the closest aid of the president to have tested positive with coronavirus.

She had travelled with the president on Air Force One early this week.

Trump, in an interview to Fox News on Thursday night, said he and the first lady spend a lot of time with her.

"She wears masks a lot. But she tested positive," Trump said, noting that it's hard to say no to people and ask them to stay away.

"You know, it's very hard. When you're with soldiers, when you're with airmen, when you're with Marines, and I'm with the police officers. I'm with them so much. And when they come over here, it's very hard to say, stay back, stay back. It's a tough kind of a situation," he said.

In a statement, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere said that 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," Deere said.

Several White House staffers have tested positive with COVID-19 in recent months, including the National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary.

The deadly virus has so far killed more than 200,000 people and infected over 7 million others in the US.

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Lalit K Jha Washington, DC
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