US president Donald Trump and first lady Melania have tested positive for coronavirus and are in quarantine, days after the politician mocked his rival for wearing face masks.
Trump announced his diagnosis in a tweet in the early hours of Friday, following a positive test from one of his closest aides.
Hope Hicks returned a positive test on Thursday, with Trump later tweeting: “@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
While waiting for the results of his test following Hicks’ diagnosis, Trump said he had found it difficult to socially distance while meeting members of the armed forces.
He told Fox News: “It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the marines, and with the police officers, I’m with them so much.
“And when they come over to you it’s very hard to say ‘stay back, stay back’ you know, it’s a tough kind of a situation, it’s a terrible thing.”
He added: “They come over to you and they want to hug you and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them and you get close and things happen.”
Trump’s diagnosis came days after he mocked his political rival Joe Biden for wearing a face mask.
The president said he wore masks “when needed”, before telling Biden: “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from him and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden replied: “Well, masks make a big difference. His own head of the CDC said if we just wore masks between now, if everybody wore a mask and social distanced between now and January, we’d probably save up to 100,000 lives. It matters. It matters.”
Trump told viewers he had been told “the opposite”.
His Covid-19 diagnosis is the latest among world leaders, with prime minster Boris Johnson admitted to intensive care after contracting the disease and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also falling ill.