Trump becomes the latest world leader to test positive for coronavirus
The American President and First Lady have both confirmed that they have contracted Covid-19, but which other politicians have returned positive tests?
American President Donald Trump has revealed that both he and First Lady Melania have tested positive for coronavirus. Trump broke the news by tweet late on Thursday night with many speculating that he contracted the virus from his aide Hope Hicks, who tested positive the day before.
The positive test results come just days after the raucous first presidential debate between Trump and challenger Joe Biden and threatens to disrupt the remaining month of his re-election campaign. The President shared a stage with Biden for an hour and a half in Cleveland and mocked his opponent for using face coverings.
Trump, now 74, has drawn criticism during the campaign for continuing to hold indoor rallies against the advice of health experts and state officials, staging large indoor events in Tulsa, Phoenix and Nevada since the summer. The President has claimed that the rallies have not led to a rise in cases but two of his staffers are known to have tested positive after attending the Tulsa rally.
Donald Trump is far from the only world leader to have tested positive for Covid-19 and many of them have previously shared his scepticism about the severity of the virus.
Boris Johnson previously admitted to intensive care
Early on in the pandemic the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson shocked the country by announcing that he had contracted coronavirus. The news came just days after he had introduced the nation’s first lockdown measures and he was soon taken into an intensive care unit as his condition worsened.
Like Trump, he too had been accused of under-playing the threat that the virus posed and just weeks earlier had been pictured walking around coronavirus hospital wards without sufficient PPE and boasted about shaking hands with patients.
The Prime Minister’s condition was said to be serious but he made a full recovery and spoke with Trump after returning to work. The President said of their conversation: “He thought it was over, it was vicious, and he made it… He’s a great guy and he made it, but he has first-hand experience - the ultimate first-hand experience.”
Covid-sceptic Bolsonaro tested positive three times
Another to have initially downplayed the dangers of coronavirus was Brazilian premier Jair Bolsonaro who has since contracted and recovered from the virus. Bolsonaro has been dubbed ‘Brazil’s Trump’ and had previously described the virus, which has now claimed over 1 million lives globally, as “a little flu”. He was forced to remain in self-isolation for a prolonged period after testing positive for coronavirus three times in two weeks.
Although the 65-year-old has now recovered and returned to work he has presided over one of the countries worst-affected by the pandemic. Brazil has suffered more deaths per capita (690 per million residents) than any country of over 50 million people.
Russian government hit with a number of confirmed cases
Russia is another country to have suffered enormously during the coronavirus pandemic and a number of top government officials have tested positive for the virus. Most notably, Prime Minister Mikail Mishutin was forced to temporarily step down from his role in April while he recovered and three government ministers and at least five State Duma deputies were also confirmed to have contracted Covid-19.
Upon hearing the news about the President and First Lady’s positive tests, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to the White House offering “sincere support”.
He added: “I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus”.
India suffers death of government minister
While the vast majority of leaders and government officials to have tested positive for coronavirus have recovered, India’s Junior Railways Minister Suresh Angadi tragically died of the virus last week. India has one of the largest populations in the world and ranks second in the list of confirmed cases of Covid-19 with over 6 million positive tests. Only the US has reported more.
Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu recently tested positive but had no symptoms while government minister Narenda Modi was hospitalised last month and has now recovered. A recent study into the virus carried out in India found that children could be acting as super-spreaders for the virus.