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Trump tests positive for COVID-19 — live updates

October 2, 2020

US President Donald Trump is being transferred to a military hospital after he and the first lady contracted COVID-19. The diagnosis forced him to postpone campaign events ahead of the election. Follow DW for the latest.

Donald Trump and Melania
Image: Andrew Caballerro-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
  • US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania are in quarantine after contracting coronavirus
  • Trump will spend several days in a military hospital
  • His presidential campaign has postponed events or moved them virtual
  • World leaders have sent their best wishes for a speedy recovery
  • The news comes just 1 month away from US elections

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

00:00 That's it for Friday's live updates. Follow Saturday's here: Donald Trump hospitalized after COVID-19 infection — live updates

22:25 US President Donald Trump walks unassisted, with mask, to the Marine One helicopter that will take him to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.

22:19 Trump has not transferred power to Vice President Mike Pence, reported Reuters news agency, citing a White House official. 

21:39 Trump will be working from the presidential offices at the military hospital "out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.

She posted a statement from White House doctor Sean P. Conley on Twitter. The memo states that Trump is "fatigued but in good spirits."

Trump was given a an experimental antibody drug that's currently in late-stage studies from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, the statement added.

21:24 Trump is being transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to undergo tests. He will remain there for "a few days" as a precautionary measures, a White House official said.

Trump was set to depart the White House by helicopter late Friday.

The president will continue his official duties from the hospital's specially-equipped presidential suite.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Trump is expected to travel to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by helicopterImage: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

19:55 Masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, according to the Associated Press.

It quoted a senior official who described facial coverings as "a personal choice." The official also said the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after it failed to detect that senior aide Hope Hicks had the virus the day she experienced symptoms.

18:41​​​ ​​​​All Trump's campaign events which involve the US president or his family would be either postponed or be "moved to virtual events," campaign manager Bill Stepien said on Friday. However, Vice President Mike Pence is set to continue campaigning and also debate Joe Biden's running mate Kamala Harris next week.

17:19 Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who confirmed catching the coronavirus last month, wished Donald Trump a speedy recovery.

Giammattei's spokesman said the Guatemalan leader is now feeling much better.

"He just needs to do a COVID-19 test to know it's negative," presidential spokesman Francis Masek said.

16:35 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden has tested negative for COVID-19.

"I'm happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID," Biden said. "I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.

Biden debated US President Donald Trump on Tuesday in Cleveland. The two did not wear masks during the debate, but did not shake hands and stood at podiums significantly distance from each other.

Trump's senior aide Hope Hicks was part of the US president's entourage in Cleveland. The White House confirmed on Thursday that Hicks had come down with the virus.

16:24 First Lady Melania Trump confirmed she is also experiencing "mild symptoms but feeling good overall" and is "looking forward to a speedy recovery.

15:51 Europe's leading stock exchanges were down just 0.5% on Friday, rebounding after even starker morning losses. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index also recovered after dropping as much as 1.2%.

Read more: Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 test adds more uncertainty to financial markets

Global stocks tumble as Trump tests positive

14:59 White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Trump is experiencing "mild symptoms" of COVID-19, confirming earlier reports. Meadows said the US president remains in "good spirits."

"The American people can rest assured that we have a president that is not only on the job, will remain on the job and I'm optimistic that he'll have a very quick and speedy recovery," Meadows told reporters at the White House.

14:54 Trump's presidential campaign has asked all staffers exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine immediately, according to US broadcaster CBS.

CBS reporter Nicole Sganga posted on Twitter an email from Trump's campaign manager which encourage staffers to wear masks, wash hands and socially distance. "While some public events will be taken down, the campaign office remains open," the email said.

14:41 Donald Trump's youngest son Barron, 14, has tested negative for COVID-19, the White House said. 

"Barron tested negative and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy," said Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff for Melania Trump.

14:28 Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, said that she is hoping Trump's positive COVID-19 test would be a "learning experience" about the virus.

"Let us all pray for the president's health," Pelosi said on MSNBC. She added, "This is tragic, It is very sad."

14:01 Donald Trump is experiencing "mild symptoms" of COVID-19 after he and his wife Melania tested positive for the disease, according to the Associated Press and New York Times. The AP reported that the US president was still working from the White House residence.

13:52 The White House is carrying out contact tracing after President Donald Trump and his wife Melania tested positive for the coronavirus.

"Contact tracing is being done and the appropriate notifications and recommendations will be made," said Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere.

Trump met with dozens of people through the week and reportedly went to a fundraiser in New Jersey after it was known that a close aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.

12:54 Trump's rival in the November 3 US presidential election Joe Biden has tweeted his good wishes.

The Democrat Party nominee said: "Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family."

12:42 Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the latest world leader to react to the news:

"Sophie and I are sending our best wishes to @POTUS (President)Trump and @FLOTUS (Melania Trump). We hope you both get well soon and have a full recovery from this virus, "Trudeau said on Twitter in English and French.

12:20 China's Foreign Ministry said the Beijing government hopes that Trump recovers quickly. The brief response was more constrained than comments made earlier in state media.

Hu Xijin, Editor in Chief of China's Global Times, tweeted: "President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down the COVID-19. The news shows the severity of the US' pandemic situation. It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also
negatively affect his reelection."

12:12 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has wished the US presidential couple a speedy recovery from the coronavirus. "The secretary-general sends his best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a quick and complete recovery," a spokesperson for Guterres said.

11:41 President Trump is the latest leader to have contracted COVID-19. The virus has seemingly swept through the global political elite. Here's a look at other leaders who have had the virus:

Trump, 74, is at high risk with the deadly virus both because of his age and because he is considered overweight. He has remained in good health during his time in office but is not known to exercise regularly or to follow a healthy diet.

11:20 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was sure President Trump and First Lady Melania would stage a "very strong recovery" from COVID-19. "Obvioulsy, I think we all want to send our best wishes to the president and the first lady and I've done that this morning as you can imagine," said Johnson, who recovered after being hospitalized with the disease in April

10:56 Global equities dropped after Trump revealed that he and his wife had tested positive for COVID-19.

The heightened turmoil sent US futures sinking as investors nervously awaited Wall Street's reopening at 1330 GMT, with key non-farm payrolls data slated for publication.

Europe's major bourses dropped sharply at the open before clawing back some ground.

Japan's Nikkei ended the day 0.7% down. Oil prices tanked 4%, extending Thursday's heady losses that were also rooted in the market being awash in crude amid timid demand.

10:52 Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of NATO, tweeted: "My best wishes to @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS. I hope they both have a speedy recovery from COVID-19," using the handles of Trump and his wife. 

10:31 Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C., told DW that "if Donald Trump could get infected, anybody can."

"I think in certain ways it was inevitable, given how risky they were, and potentially that Trump and (his senior counselor) Hope Hicks were both transmitting the virus at the debate despite testing negative," he said.

Asked about its impact on the upcoming presidential election, he said: "I think that will turn some, a lot of independents and moderates, to wake up to the reality that this virus is serious."

10:15 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wished the Trumps a speedy recovery. "I sincerely hope that they will overcome the quarantine period without problems and regain their health as soon as possible," Erdogan wrote on Twitter. 

09:50 Trump's handling of the pandemic has been drawing sharp criticism for several months. The president has often downplayed the seriousness of the health crisis and repeatedly predicted it would go away.

He rarely wears a mask and criticizes people who do. The Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden regularly wears a mask in public, for which Trump mocked him during Tuesday night's presidential debate.

"I don't wear masks like him," Trump said of 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 Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols.

09:33 German government spokesperson said Chancellor Angela Merkel sent President Trump and First Lady Melania best wishes and hopes they will recover from the infection soon. "I hope that they recover well from their coronavirus infection and are soon completely healthy again," he quoted her as saying. 

09:28 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he has tested negative for the coronavirus after President Trump announced he had been infected and was in quarantine. "I'm feeling fantastic," Pompeo told reporters travelling with him to Dubrovnik, Croatia, the last stop on a European tour. Vice President Mike Pence also tested negative for the virus and "remains in good health," his spokesperson said. Pence's wife Karen also had a negative test.

09:11 Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Trump a telegram to wish him a swift recovery after he tested positive for COVID-19, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin.

"I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus," Putin's telegram said, according to the Interfax news agency.

08:50 Franziska Brantner, a German lawmaker with the Green Party, reacted to the news by saying that it shows the "whole craziness of the Trump's handling of the corona crisis over the last couple of months." 

"It shows again that with Trump, we don't have a reliable ally in the global fight against COVID-19," she told DW.

08:32 Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), wished Trump "a full and speedy recovery" in a tweet.

Trump is pulling the United States out of the WHO, accusing it of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and being too close to China.

08:24 The Kremlin wished President Trump a speedy recovery after testing positive for COVID-19. "Of course, we wish President Trump a swift recovery," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

He added that President Vladimir Putin plans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but that the Kremlin will make an announcement when this happens.

08:18 First Lady Melania Trump has said in a tweet that she and the president "are feeling good." "Please be sure you are staying safe & we will get through this together," she added. 

08:10 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: "Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery." 

08:01 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wished the Trumps speedy recovery. 

07:55 UK Housing Minister Robert Jenrick wished the Trumps speedy recovery. "We know what it's like to have, in our case a prime minister who tested positive for COVID, and setting aside politics we all want to see him and his wife get better soon," he said. "In the US they've got a very clear protocol haven't they, with the vice president, should that be necessary."

07:45 After the Trumps said they had contracted the virus, France's government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said: "This demonstrates that the virus spares no one, including those who have shown skepticism. I wish him a swift recovery."

07:38 The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, wished President Trump and his wife Melania speedy recovery.


07:30 US Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter that he and his wife Karen were sending "love and prayers to our dear friends," before adding: "We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery."

07:15 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first world leader to tweet his support, wishing the president and first lady "a quick recovery."

07:00 US President Donald Trump and the first lady have tested positive for COVID-19 after a senior aide was found to have the virus. The diagnosis has thrown Trump's reelection campaign into turmoil, a month before the US votes. Welcome to DW's rolling coverage as the story develops.

sri/rt (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)