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Coronavirus - 2nd October


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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 08:00

Summary for Friday, 2nd October

  • Biden, who debated the now Covid-positive US president on Tuesday, says he doesn't have the virus
  • Members of Donald Trump's cabinet, advisers and the vice-president have Covid-19 tests
  • White House says Trump has "mild symptoms"
  • First Lady Melania Trump also has the virus and is recuperating at the White House
  • The Trumps received results after one of the president's closest aides became infected
  • Trump, 74, has been criticsed for playing down severity of virus and often spurning masks and social distancing
  • US has registered world's highest number of confirmed cases and Covid-related deaths - nearly 208,000
  • Elsewhere, Scotland's first minister says an SNP MP who travelled by train after testing positive should resign
  • More than 34 million cases have been confirmed globally with around 1.02 million deaths, Johns Hopkins University says

Good morning if you're joining us in the UK, and hello to all of you around the world. Welcome to our Iive coverage of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic.
The main news this Friday is that US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania have tested positive for Covid-19 and are now in quarantine.
The president, aged 74 and therefore in a high-risk group, announced the news in a tweet, saying: "We will get through this TOGETHER".
The result came after one of his closest aides - 31-year-old Hope Hicks, tested positive. She travelled on Air Force One to the TV debate between Trump and his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden in Ohio on Tuesday.
Stay with us as we bring you the latest news and analysis.

Analysis: Earth-shaking development

Anthony Zurcher - BBC North America reporter
A week after Donald Trump told Americans not to worry about Covid-19 because "it affects virtually nobody" except the elderly and those with heart conditions, the president himself has tested positive for the virus.
It is difficult to overstate exactly how earth-shaking a development this is, just 32 days before the US elections.
The president will have to quarantine for treatment. Campaign rallies are off. The next presidential debate, in two weeks, is in question.
The recurring message from the president, that the nation is "rounding the turn" in its handling of the virus, has been undermined by his own illness.
Just two days ago, during the first debate, Trump belittled Democratic opponent Joe Biden for frequently wearing masks and not having campaign rallies that matched his own in size.
Now, the White House and the campaign will have to answer why the president took such a seemingly cavalier attitude toward protecting himself - and how many others in the White House and the higher echelons of the US government may have been exposed.
During times of national turmoil, the American public tends to rally in support of the president. It may not be enough to insulate him from the questions that follow, however.

President and first lady both well, official doctor says

The White House official doctor Sean Conley has released a statement on the president and first lady's positive results.
"This evening I received confirmation that both President Trump and First Lady Melanie have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus," he said, referring to the scientific name for the virus that causes Covid-19.
"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.
"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. 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."

What is happening with Hope Hicks?

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Hope Hicks is one of President Trump's closest aides

President Trump's result came after one of his closest aides - Hope Hicks - tested positive for coronavirus. According to Bloomberg News, Hicks is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, and was quarantined on Air Force One on the trip back from Minnesota.
A White House official quoted by The Hill political news outlet said that contact tracing had been carried out "and the appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made".
During a phone call with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night, Trump said he and First Lady Melania, who has also tested positive, "spend a lot of time with Hope".
Hicks was a campaign spokeswoman during Trump's candidacy before becoming communications director in his White House. She stepped down in March 2018 to become chief communications officer at Rupert Murdoch's Fox, before returning to the White House in February.

We are feeling good, says first lady

And here's the tweet First Lady Melania Trump sent earlier:
:Left Quotes:  As too many Americans have done this year, [President Trump] & 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.

Have there been other cases at the White House?

The White House tests aides and anyone else who comes into contact with the president daily.
In May, Vice-President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive and later recovered
That same month, a member of the US Navy who was serving as one of President Trump's personal valets tested positive. But the White House said at the time that neither the president nor vice-president were affected
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, a number of Secret Service agents, a Marine One pilot and a White House cafeteria worker have also tested positive.

UK headlines

We'll bring you more reaction and analysis following President Trump's positive test result for Covid-19. But let's take a quick look at the main coronavirus stories in the UK this morning:

  • An MP is facing calls to resign after she was suspended by her party for travelling to Westminster while awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test - which turned out to be positive . Margaret Ferrier said she made the journey because she was feeling "much better" - but Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says her colleague's actions were "utterly indefensible"
  • The loss of a sense of smell may be a more reliable indicator of the virus than a cough or fever, research suggests . A study by University College London (UCL) of 590 people who lost their sense of smell or taste earlier in the year found 80% had coronavirus antibodies
  • People living alone in parts of Wales facing fresh lockdown restrictions are to get extra support . They are currently banned from meeting other households indoors but First Minister Mark Drakeford is considering allowing single people to form a social bubble
  • Later on we will get the weekly update of the Office for National Statistics' survey on household coronavirus infections across England and Wales. We are also expecting an updated estimate on the UK's R number, which rates the virus' ability to spread
  • The stats should help to give us an idea of whether local restrictions and the latest changes to social distancing rules have slowed the spread of the virus

In pictures: Trump's Minnesota rally

Just a day before he tested positive, President Donald Trump attended a rally at an airport in Duluth, Minnesota.
As has been the case at most of his public appearances, the president did not wear a face mask.
The crowd was not socially distanced and most of those who attended appeared to not have worn face coverings either.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 09:44

Pence: We join millions praying for their recovery

Here's a tweet Vice-President Mike Pence sent following the confirmation that President Trump and First Lady Melania had tested positive for Covid-19:
Tweet  :Left Quotes:  Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President [Trump] and [First Lady] Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania.
Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President [Trump] and [First Lady] Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania.

China's Global Times editor: Trump 'paid the price for his gamble'

Upasana Bhat - BBC Monitoring
Some strong reaction to President Trump and his wife testing positive for Covid-19 is coming from China, the country where the virus first emerged and has been frequently criticised by the president.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of China's state-run Global Times newspaper, says Trump and First Lady Melania have "paid the price for his gamble to play down" the Covid-19 pandemic and that this may also "negatively affect" his campaign.
"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 re-election," he wrote on Twitter .
Twitter is banned in mainland China, but Hu is active on the platform.
Hu had also condemned the quality of the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, saying "such chaos at the top of US politics reflects division, anxiety of US society and the accelerating loss of advantages of the US political system".

In graphics: Covid-19 in US

President Trump has long faced criticism for his approach to the coronavirus. In the early stages of the pandemic, he was accused of playing down the severity of the crisis. He has at times suggested preventative measures not recommended by medical experts and ridiculed the wearing of face masks .
The US has the world’s highest number of Covid-related deaths - nearly 208,000. It has also recorded more than seven million cases, about a fifth of the world's total.
Hospital admissions and deaths have declined, however, with the seven-day average for deaths remaining below 1,000 since the end of August.
You can read more from our data team here.
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US shares set to drop after Trump tests positive

News of the president’s Covid-19 diagnosis, just a month before the election, has rattled the US stock markets, which are expected to open sharply lower when trading begins on Friday.
Stock market futures show that all three of America’s main indexes - the Dow Jones, the S&P and the Nasdaq - are set to drop by at least 1.5% each.
The Dow Jones could drop by nearly 500 points, the technology-heavy Nasdaq is set to tumble by 2% while the S&P 500 is on course to fall 1.7%.
"It is prime time now for [the] US election," said Jingyi Pan, a senior market strategist at IG Group. "Should the president be absent during this period, that could mean even more complications with the election."

What has Trump said about coronavirus?

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President Trump has been widely criticised for playing down the virus in the early stages

As we mentioned earlier, the US has the world's highest number of Covid-related deaths. But President Trump insists he responded decisively and correctly. So here's a look back at a few of his statements.
22 January (first case confirmed in US) - "We have it under control"
"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It's going to be just fine."
9 March - Compares coronavirus to flu
"So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on... Think about that!"
31 March - "This is not the flu" 
"It's not the flu. It's vicious. When you send a friend to the hospital... he says goodbye, sort of a tough guy, little older, little heavier than he'd like to be, frankly. And you call up the next day, 'how's he doing?' And he's in a coma? This is not the flu."
3 April - "Choosing not to wear a mask"
“With the masks, it’s going to be really a voluntary thing. You can do it, you don't have to do it. I'm choosing not to do it, but some people may want to do it and that's OK."
12 July - Wearing masks "a great thing"
"I think when you're in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask."
21 July - "Wear a mask"
"We're asking everybody that when you are not able to socially distance, wear a mask, get a mask."
10 September - America “rounding the final turn” of the pandemic
“We're rounding the final turn, and a lot of good things are happening with vaccines and with therapeutics."
Unsurprisingly coronavirus has become one of the main topics in the race for the White House. Our Reality Check team has been fact checking some of Trump's comments, as well as those of his Democrat challenger Joe Biden. You can read more here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 09:48

Covid-19 positive MP should reflect on her position, SNP says

Meanwhile, the leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster has called on Margaret Ferrier MP - who travelled on public transport after testing positive for coronavirus - to "reflect very carefully on whether she can continue as a member of Parliament for her constituents".
Ian Blackford told BBC Breakfast that "nobody is above the law, nobody is above the regulations."
He added: "I'm calling on Margaret to do the right thing. It's just a pity that Boris Johnson never did that with Dominic Cummings."
The SNP withdrew the whip from Ferrier on Thursday, after she put out a statement saying she had travelled to Parliament while waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test, and then travelled back to Scotland on public transport despite having received a positive test result.
Pressed if she should resign, he said: "Well I think I've been quite clear in the interview that I've had with you - I've laid it out that she's broken the rules, she's broken the law. She's let herself down, she's let everybody else down.
"I think it's pretty obvious that she has to do the right thing."

Analysis: Trump's health and the big picture

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent
It is dangerous to speculate about how the virus will affect any individual person. There are clear risk factors - the older you are the greater the risk of a coronavirus infection becoming life-threatening.
People aged 64-74 with Covid in the US are five times more likely to need hospital care and 90 times more likely to die than somebody in their twenties.
The US Centers for Disease Control says eight out of 10 Covid deaths in the country have been in the over 65s. The virus also seems to hit men and people who are overweight harder.
But that is the big picture - a pattern seen across the whole population - it is not a way of saying this is what will happen to the US president.
The health of any two 74 year-olds can be wildly different and other medical conditions massively alter how big a threat this virus poses.
We do not yet know if Donald Trump has even developed symptoms.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 09:52

Latest from Europe

We'll have more news and reaction from the US in a moment but first here's a round-up of the latest news across Europe:

  • Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said last night the Covid situation was close to critical in the Russian capital and ordered at least 30% of workers to work from home from Monday. Now Deputy Mayor Vladimir Efimov says that number should gradually rise to half. Moscow reported 2,424 new cases on Thursday and top medic Denis Protsenko says Muscovites have not been wearing masks and have started hugging and shaking hands again.
  • Czechs vote in regional and senate elections today, ahead of a state of emergency from Monday affecting schools, leisure and cultural events. A record 3,493 infections and 12 more deaths have been reported in the past 24 hours.
  • Germany has reported 2,673 new infections - the highest number since mid-April. Eight more people have died.
  • Top French chef Philippe Etchebest wants catering workers to "make a noise" outside hotels, cafes and restaurants at 11:45 (09:45GMT) this morning - after the government warned it could decide on Monday to shut them in Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon and other cities. France has seen 70,458 new cases in the past week.
  • Madrid leaders will appeal to the National Court against an order to limit movement across the Spanish capital from this weekend. They say they will comply with the order. Spain reported another 182 deaths late on Thursday and 9,419 infections.

International leaders send wishes for Trump's recovery

International reaction to the news that the US president and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus has started coming in.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he hoped the couple "both have a speedy recovery". Trump tweeted support to Johnson when he himself was in hospital with Covid in April.
Tweet  Boris Johnson:
:Left Quotes:  My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who received Trump in an on official visit earlier this year, said he wished the first couple "a quick recovery and good health".
EU chief Charles Michel also wished them a "speedy recovery", adding: "Covid-19 is a battle we all continue to fight. Everyday. No matter where we live."
The spokesman for the French government, meanwhile, said the president's diagonisis "demonstrates that the virus spares no-one, including those who have shown scepticism. I wish him a swift recovery."
The president's Democratic challenger in November's election, Joe Biden, has not yet reacted to the news. He was on stage with the president during Tuesday night's presidential debate.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 09:58

Analysis: Astonishing but unsurprising news

Jon Sopel - BBC North America Editor
The tweet from President Trump that he and First Lady Melania had tested positive for coronavirus is simultaneously astonishing - given the security around the president, and the level of testing - and unsurprising, given the ambivalent attitude towards face masks in the White House.
The president's close aide and confidante, Hope Hicks, was diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday. She had boarded Marine One with four other senior staff and the president. None was wearing a mask
She had been with Donald Trump all week - now he has contracted it, and a number of questions arise. How long will he have to quarantine for? Will the next presidential debate in Florida happen? But what if he becomes sick?
The president is 74 and obese, according to the data released a year or so back by the White House medical office. The president's physician has issued a statement saying that he expects him to be able to continue his duties uninterrupted while recuperating, and will quarantine in the White House residence.
There will be some anxiety in Joe Biden's camp as well - after all, the two men were sharing a stage together in a very shouty debate on Tuesday night.

Which other world leaders have tested positive?

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Boris Johnson spent three nights in intensive care in April

The news that Donald Trump has tested positive for Covid-19 may concern US voters - but they will not be the first electorate to see their leader fall ill with the virus.
Among the other world leaders to have tested positive are:
Boris Johnson - The UK's prime minister spent three nights in intensive care in April after contracting the virus, and - after being released from hospital - admitted it "could have gone either way".
Juan Orlando Hernández - The Honduran president revealed in a televised address in June that he, his wife two of his two aides had tested positive for coronavirus.
Jair Bolsonaro - Brazil's president tested positive in July, after previously testing negative on three occasions. He repeatedly played down risks of what he called the "little flu".
Alejandro Giammattei - Guatemala's president tested positive in September after taking his sixth test. He described his symptoms as being "mild", saying that he had some "body aches" and a "bit of a cough".

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 10:03

How US media is reporting the news

The dramatic news broke overnight in America, and media outlets have been scrambling to react to what CBS News described as "an earth-shattering announcement mere weeks from election day" .
For the New York Times, the president's test result came "after he spent months playing down the severity of the outbreak that has killed more than 207,000 in the United States and hours after insisting that "the end of the pandemic is in sight". The paper says the test "could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his [re-election] campaign".
It adds: "Even if Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all."
Meanwhile, the Washington Post dropped its paywall to allow people to read for free its live updates on the situation .
In an article on world reaction to the news "despite objections to his handling of the pandemic" the paper noted that "Trump has faced widespread criticism from abroad over his response" and that "foreign researchers have repeatedly criticized the Trump administration for failing to adequately take into account scientific advice".
Politico described Trump as "the world’s highest-profile patient of a disease that has killed more than 1 million people".
"A person familiar with the situation said the president was not showing symptoms yet on Thursday," Politico said. "Still, Vice President Mike Pence may need to step in for some tasks if Trump is confined to the White House grounds," it quoted the source as saying.

Loss of smell may be clearer sign than cough, study suggests

A loss of a sense of smell may be a more reliable indicator of Covid-19 than a cough or fever, new research suggests.
A study by University College London (UCL) of 590 people who lost their sense of smell or taste earlier in the year found 80% had coronavirus antibodies. Of those people with antibodies, 40% had no other symptoms.
The research only looked at people with mild symptoms, however.
It is thought loss of smell happens with Covid-19 because the virus invades the cells found at the back of the nose, throat and on the tongue.
This is distinct from the experience of having a cold where smell and taste might be altered because a person's airways are blocked.
You can read more about the UCL study here.


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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 10:13

Who has been with Trump this week?

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Hope Hicks walked across the White House lawn on Wednesday with top officials, from left to right, Nicholas Luna, Dan Scavino, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller

President Trump's diagnosis comes after a busy week, running his administration and campaigning ahead of the 3 November election, during which he interacted with many high-level officials.
On Monday, he held a news briefing - giving an update on his administration's coronavirus testing strategy - in the White House Rose Garden which was attended by Vice-President Mike Pence, Health Secretary Alex Azar and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos among others.
At the high-profile TV debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, the president not only shared a stage with his Democrat rival Joe Biden but he was also joined by his most senior aides, including White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows, campaign strategist Jason Miller and policy adviser Stephen Miller.
All his children - and their partners - were also with him. Observers noted that none wore masks during the debate.
During the week, his Supreme Court nominee - Judge Amy Coney Barrett - also visited the White House, and Trump attended both a rally and private fundraiser in Minnesota, the New York Times reports.
It takes five days on average from the moment you are infected to start showing the symptoms, but the World Health Organization says it can take up to 14 days. Incubation period, however, is five days on average.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 10:19

London transport will shut down without new bailout, TfL warns

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The government has promised a letter setting out terms for a fresh bailout

Some news from the UK in the meantime. London's transport network will shut down in a "doomsday scenario" without a second bailout, Transport for London (TfL) has warned.
The government agreed to a £1.6bn bailout in May, to keep services running after TfL's income fell by 90% during the coronavirus pandemic.
The deal is due to expire in two weeks. TfL bosses say the network needs £2bn to run until the end of the year.
The government has promised a letter setting out terms for a fresh bailout.
TfL Commissioner Andy Byford said finances were "right on the wire". The transport authority wants almost £3bn to stay afloat through 2021, according to the Local Democracy Report Service .

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 11:55

WHO chief sends 'best wishes' to Trump

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Dr Tedros and the WHO have been heavily criticised by President Trump

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has tweeted his "best wishes" to President Trump and the first lady for a "full and speedy recovery".
Trump, you may remember, has repeatedly criticised the WHO for its response to the pandemic. Earlier this year, he announced he was ending the country’s relationship with the WHO , claiming it was under the "total control" of China, where the virus was first detected.
The US has been the single largest financial contributor to the UN global heath agency, which helps countries promote healthcare and tackle outbreaks.
Dr Tedros defended the WHO's independence at the time of Trump's comments, but promised a review of its response to the pandemic.

Margaret Ferrier should resign, Sturgeon says

MP Margaret Ferrier - who travelled by train from London to Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19 - should resign, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
In a tweet, the Scottish National Party leader said she could not force Ms Ferrier to step down as a member of Parliament but hoped "she will do the right thing".
Former SNP MP Ferrier had the whip withdrawn yesterday after admitting what she had done.
Tweet Nicola Sturgeon:
:Left Quotes:  I’ve spoken to Margaret Ferrier and made clear my view that she should step down as an MP. I did so with a heavy heart - she is a friend & colleague - but her actions were dangerous & indefensible. I have no power to force an MP to resign but I hope she will do the right thing.

US airlines lay off thousands as federal relief ends

The economic fallout of the pandemic continues. US airlines have begun laying off thousands of workers after efforts to negotiate a new economic relief plan in Congress stalled.
American Airlines will shed 19,000 workers and United Airlines 13,000 , although they say they are ready to reverse the decisions if more financing is found.
The airlines have received billions of dollars from the federal government under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Cares Act), which was passed by Congress earlier this year. The funding was conditional on the carriers not laying off workers until 1 October.
Airlines worldwide have been hit by a massive fall in demand caused by the pandemic. But other industries have also announced major cuts recently. Earlier this week, Walt Disney said it would lay off 28,000 employees , mostly at its US theme parks.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 11:59

Coronavirus-linked deaths in Northern Ireland rise above 900

Another nine Covid-related deaths were registered in Northern Ireland in the week to 25 September, taking the total above 900, official figures show. It is one more than the previous week, according to the latest bulletin from the NI Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra).
The agency counts deaths where the virus is mentioned on the death certificate, and reports 901 deaths up to last Friday. The Department of Health's daily figure for the same date was 578 - more than 300 lower.
The figures from Nisra show 483 deaths in hospital, including the deaths of 81 people normally resident in care homes.
We have more about the situation in Northern Ireland here.

Global financial markets react

News of the US president's Covid-19 diagnosis - and the uncertainty it brings both to the Trump administration and next month's election - has sent a shiver of concern across the global financial markets.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei share index fell 0.7%, reversing earlier gains. In Europe, major indexes in London, Frankfurt and Paris all showed falls in early trading, although there was no sign of panic.
Analysts are expecting a stronger reaction when US markets begin trading later. As we reported earlier, the three main indexes - the Dow Jones, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 - are all expected to open sharply down.
The BBC's business correspondent Theo Leggett says concern about the president's heath is expected to overshadow other factors which would normally influence market sentiment, including continued uncertainty over a $2.2tn (£1.7tn) stimulus plan and what are expected to be encouraging US employment figures.

More world leaders react to Trump's coronavirus diagnosis

Here's more reaction from international leaders to our main news this Friday.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin said President Trump's "vitality, good spirits and optimism" would help him cope with the virus, according to the Kremlin.
"I send Donald and Melania Trump all my good wishes," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to her spokesman. "I hope that they recover well from their corona infection and are completely healthy again soon."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Like millions of Israelis, Sara [Netanyahu's wife] and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery".

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 12:03

Newcastle event 'serious threat to public health'

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Newcastle's Perdu could be shut down, the local council says

A "raucous" event at a bar in north-east England posed a major Covid-19 risk and could result in the venue being shut down, the local council has said.
Newcastle City Council said the event at Perdu in the city was "a serious and imminent threat to public health".
Councillor John-Paul Stephenson said some premises were "spoiling everything for those who are bending over backwards to make this work".
Perdu's owners said the authorities acted on an eight-second Instagram video that did not give the true picture.
It comes after tighter coronavirus restrictions were introduced for around two million people living in the North East.

Unanswered questions

US President Donald Trump may have confirmed that both he and his wife have contracted coronavirus, but many questions remain.
The first is when and where he contracted the virus.
This is difficult to answer because - as we have reported a bit earlier - the president has maintained a busy schedule in the run-up to the election, and does not usually wear a mask.
According to the Associated Press news agency, however, the president alluded to the fact he had been in close contact with members of the military or law enforcement in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.
"They want to hug you, and they want to kiss you,” he said.
We know that he was tested after his aide, Hope Hicks, contracted the virus. But, as with the president, we do not know where and when she became infected.
We also do not know whether Vice-President Mike Pence, who has been with Trump this week, had been tested.

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Analysis: Ferrier's Covid breach is embarrassing for Sturgeon

Sarah Smith - Scotland Editor
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Five days a week, every week, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appears on TV taking questions about her coronavirus policies and urging every one of us to abide by the rules.
So for the MP who has committed the most egregious breach of the regulations - possibly of the law - to be from her own Scottish National Party is acutely embarrassing.
The SNP leader has been quick to condemn others for breaking the rules and has made no attempt to defend or excuse Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier.
This is the first minister who fired her chief medical officer for breaking lockdown rules back in April and demanded the sacking of the PM's chief adviser Dominic Cummings after he admitted breaching the regulations.
Sturgeon swiftly condemned Ferrier's behaviour as "utterly indefensible".
While SNP MPs called publicly Ferrier to resign, the first minister has spoken to her this morning and made it clear she should step down as an MP.
But the problem for the SNP is that they cannot force Ferrier to leave her job. They have already removed the party whip and suspended her from the SNP. But that is all they can do.

Strictly contestant tests positive - but will still compete in show

Strictly Come Dancing contestant HRVY has revealed he has tested positive for coronavirus, 10 days before the launch show is due to be filmed for BBC One.
The YouTube star and singer tweeted to say he's "all good, no symptoms, just isolating for the next 10 days".
He added: "Already super bored so prepare yourselves for my TikToks."
A BBC spokesman confirmed HRVY had tested positive. The 21-year-old is still expected to take part in the series.

Trump tests positive: A round-up

Let's take a moment to recap what has been a very busy few hours following the news that US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19:

  • The president's doctor said Trump and Melania were "both well", and that the president would continue to work from the White House, where the couple were both isolating
  • Their results came after one of Trump's key aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive
  • In a tweet, President Trump, who is 74, said: "We will get through this TOGETHER!"
  • World leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have sent their wishes for the couple's speedy recovery
  • President Trump has been criticised for playing down the severity of the virus in the early stages of the pandemic and has attended campaign rallies without social distancing measures or widespread mask wearing
  • The news comes just over a month before the presidential election, and raises questions over the next presidential debate, due to be held in two weeks' time

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 12:12

US presidential campaign: Next key dates

As the presidential race enters its final few weeks before the 3 November election, President Trump's positive Covid-19 diagnosis raises many questions. He is now in self-isolation but, according to his doctor, is expected to continue carrying out his duties without disruption.
Trump is known for his love of rallies, and he has attended several in recent weeks. But his scheduled events in Florida on Friday and in Wisconsin this weekend - two key swing states - have now been cancelled.
It is also not yet clear whether he will be able to attend in person the next scheduled debate with his Democrat rival Joe Biden on 15 October. That debate, in Miami, is scheduled to have a town hall-style session where voters get to question the candidates.
The third and final presidential debate is due to be held in Nashville on 22 October.
The vice-presidential candidates' debate, between Republican Mike Pence and Democrate Kamala Harris, is due to take place in Salt Lake City next Wednesday, on 7 October.
Here's our very simple guide to the US election.

One in 500 in England had Covid-19 in week to 24 September

Robert Cuffe - BBC head of statistics
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that 1 in 500 people in homes in England had coronavirus in the week to 24 September.
This figure is unchanged on last week.
They further estimate there were 8,400 new infections a day, which is slightly down on last week's 9,600.
But the ONS say it is too early to say infections have levelled off or are falling.
"There is some limited evidence that the incidence rate may be levelling off following steep increases during August and September, however the wide credible intervals mean it is too early to say," the report states.
A credible interval is a margin of error.
In Wales, the ONS estimates that 1 in 500 people in the community had coronavirus, in Northern Ireland the figure is 1 in 400.
You can read the full ONS report here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 13:04

What would happen if Trump became incapacitated?

Reality Check
For now, President Trump is not reported to be unwell, but if he did become too ill to carry out his duties, this is what the US constitution sets out:
The 25th Amendment allows a president to hand over power to his vice-president, which means Mike Pence would become acting president. Once fit again, Trump could then reclaim his position.
This happened during both the Ronald Reagan and George W Bush administrations .
If the president was too unwell to hand over power, the cabinet and vice-president could declare that he was unable to continue, and Pence would assume the role.
If Pence became incapacitated as well, under the Presidential Succession Act Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives - a Democrat - would be next in line, although constitutional experts say such a transfer of power would prompt legal battles.
If she were unwilling or unable to take on the role, it would be handed to a senior Republican Senator, currently the 87-year-old Charles E Grassley. This too would almost certainly face legal challenges.

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Pence tests negative for Covid-19

US Vice-President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen have tested negative for Covid-19, a statement from the vice-president's press office has said.

Further 775 cases recorded in Scotland over past 24 hours

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed a further 775 positive cases of Covid-19 have been recorded over the past 24 hours. This takes the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 30,687.
Sturgeon said the provisional data indicates the breakdown of new cases is as follows:

  • NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde: 324
  • NHS Lothian: 164
  • NHS Lanarkshire: 102

The remaining cases are spread across a further nine of Scotland's 14 health boards.
Sturgeon added that a further four people who tested positive for the virus have died in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 2,526 deaths in Scotland by that measure.
There are also 175 patients in hospital with a confirmed case of Covid-19 (up 21), with 19 being treated in intensive care (up two) on Thursday.
She also confirmed the national Incident Management Team will meet later to discuss the ongoing situation in Glasgow and Lanarkshire.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 13:19

A brave Dublin teenager who spent 12 days in an Intensive Care Unit with coronavirus has urged young people to take the virus seriously.

Jack Edge, 17, is still recovering from the damage done to his body by Covid-19, five months after he first contracted the killer bug.

The teenager, from Rathfarnham, first began to display symptoms on April 15.

A fit and healthy young man, Jack had no underlying health conditions.

However, just five days after he began displaying symptoms, and with his condition worsening, Jack was admitted to Tallaght University Hospital.

Within a matter of hours, he was transferred to the ICU and put on a ventilator after experiencing serious difficulties breathing.

Speaking to RTE, Jack recalled his harrowing experience.

"While I was on the ventilator the nurses were able to FaceTime my parents. I don’t remember this, but they have one or two pictures of me with the tube down my throat. And that was the only time they could see me," he said.

Even after his condition stabilised and he was transferred to a high dependency unit, Jack continued to feel the effects of coronavirus.

"I couldn't sleep for three days. Every time I closed my eyes, there was just dizziness and loads of colours,” he told RTE.

"I literally stayed in the bed for 72 hours, just staring at the wall. I had a lot of dark times in the hospital, since I do struggle with anxiety too.”

While Jack credits the “amazing” care and support for helping him get through the experience, doctors later discovered he may have suffered nerve damage as a result the virus.

Jack has been admitted to hospital three times since contracting coronavirus and is facing a long road to recovery.
"I’m currently taking 18-20 tablets a day. Tablets for the nerve damage, for pain and for my anxiety,” he told RTE .
He now walks with the aid of crutches.
"I basically have to learn to walk again.”
While Jack is being supported through his recovery by his parents, Robert and Jennifer, he’s grown frustrated after seeing many young people flouting the restrictions designed to reduce their chances of catching the virus.
"I have got frustrated with a lot of people because of my history with Covid and what it has done to me,” he said.
His message to other young people is simple.
“Wear a mask and socially distance.”
"Do it for you. Do it for your friends. Do it so your elderly loved ones can be safe and don't get sick. Do it so all our lives can return to normal."

Read the full interview with Jack and his parents Robert and Jennifer here .

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 13:32

China sends well wishes

China has become the latest country to wish the US president and his wife a speedy recovery from coronavirus, the Reuters news agency reported, quoting a foreign ministry spokesperson.
The pandemic has only added further strain to already complicated relations between the two countries. Just last week, Trump used his speech at the UN General Assembly to blame Beijing for the spread of coronavirus.
The president has frequently accused China of covering up the virus, which was first detected in the city of Wuhan, saying they could have stopped the disease spreading. But China has called the comments an unfounded distraction.

What risk does Covid-19 pose to Trump's health?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
Donald Trump has clear risk factors - including his age, weight and being male - that all raise the chances of a severe coronavirus infection. He is 74 and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30, which is the clinical definition of obesity.
Age is a clear and strong link to developing a severe infection, leading to hospital treatment and in some cases death.
"But most people who get an infection also get better," Dr Bharat Pankhania, from the University of Exeter medical school, told the BBC.
An early analysis of more than 100 studies , taking in data from around the world, showed the risk for children and young adults was tiny. But at age 75, it is estimated that one-in-25 people who catch coronavirus die.
A similar pattern has been seen by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It says eight-out-of-10 Covid deaths in the country have been in the over-65s. And people in Trump's age group are five times more likely to need hospital care and 90 times more likely to die than somebody in their 20s.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 13:39

Sturgeon: I've made it crystal clear Ferrier should resign

Scotland's First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said she made it "crystal clear" to Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier that she should quit Parliament after making two long-distance train trips while having Covid-19 symptoms.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus press conference in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said the SNP MP was a "friend of mine" but said she had acted "recklessly, dangerously and completely indefensibly".
"Every day I stand here and ask you to make horrendous sacrifices because of Covid and it is really important, whether you love me or loathe me, that you can have confidence in the advice that I give you and that means me being clear that the rules apply to everyone regardless of who you are or where your political allegiance is," she said.
She said the SNP whip had been withdrawn and she had personally spoken to Ms Ferrier to tell her she should resign as an MP. She added that she also wished her a speedy recovery.
The speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said the reaction in Westminster when he was told on Wednesday had been immediate and "within 20 minutes we were in full swing" ensuring the safety and security of staff and members.
He said he "could not believe that somebody could be so reckless" and said "I am very angry that the House has been put at risk".
Sir Lindsay said he would expect Ms Ferrier to consider her behaviour and "how it looked to the rest of the country".
He added there was an ongoing police investigation into the matter.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 17:41

Under what circumstances could the US election be delayed?

Reality Check
President Trump’s period of self-isolation following a positive Covid-19 test clearly has an impact on his ability to campaign in the general election. So the question has been asked about the chances of it being delayed and how this might happen.
Under US law, the presidential election is held on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, every four years - so this year it is on 3 November.
Changing the date would be up to US lawmakers, not the president. It would require a majority in both Houses of Congress to vote in favour of any date change. That is unlikely given it would have to pass through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
Even if it were changed, the US constitution rules that a presidential administration only lasts for four years. So, President Trump's term will automatically expire at noon on 20 January 2021.
Changing this date would require an amendment to the US constitution. This would have to be approved by two-thirds of US lawmakers or state-level legislatures, then three-quarters of US states - which is, again, unlikely.

Joe Biden wishes Trumps 'swift recovery'

Donald Trump's Democratic rival Joe Biden has tweeted about the president's Covid-19 diagnosis.
Tweet  Joe Biden:
:Left Quotes:  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.

US politicians offer best wishes to Trumps

As the US wakes up to the news that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus, figures from across the political spectrum have reached out to offer their support.
From across the aisle, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has he would "pray for the health and safety" of Mr Trump and his family.
Former Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard have also wished the couple a speedy recovery.
Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr, a veteran civil rights campaigner and Obama supporter, has tweeted: "For whatever religious or political persuasion you may be, we must all pray as millions of people are affected by this disease".
Meanwhile Texas' Republican Governor Greg Abbott was one of many state leaders to offer their wishes for the couple's health.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was "praying" for their recovery, and told reporters he himself had tested negative for coronavirus on Friday.

UK's R number rises to between 1.3 and 1.6

The UK's R number, the rate at which coronavirus spreads, has risen to between 1.3 and 1.6.
Data released by the government's scientific advisory group Sage shows the figure for the whole of the UK has risen compared with last week when it was between 1.2 and 1.5.
Sage has cautioned that while there are some early indications which suggest the growth of the epidemic might be slowing, it is too early to draw firm conclusions.
Any number over 1 means the virus is spreading exponentially.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 17:47

European countries seeing second wave of virus

Several European countries are re-imposing lockdowns and other restrictions in their worst-affected regions as figures show they are experiencing a second rise in the number of daily cases.
Spain, which reported another 182 deaths and 9,419 infections on Thursday, is bringing in tighter restrictions on movement for peoplein and around the capital Madrid , where most of the cases have been recorded.
In the UK, which recorded 6,914 cases and 59 deaths on Thursday, large parts of northern England are now subject to tough lockdown rules .
France recorded 70,458 new cases in the past week and is considering shutting hotels, cafes and restaurants in several cities including Paris and Bordeaux from Monday.
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New Jersey governor asks Trump fundraiser attendees to get tested

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Governor Phil Murphy is urging everyone who attended the event to get tested

President Trump was out on the campaign trail on Thursday, hosting a fundraiser at his club in the town of Bedminster, New Jersey.
With news of his Covid-19 diagnosis, the state's Governor Phil Murphy has urged everyone who attended the event "to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested."
Murphy, a Democrat, also wished the president and his wife "a speedy and complete return to good health.
"If there is one thing we have learned in New Jersey over these months, it's that we pull together and support everyone fighting this virus," he added.
While attendee numbers are unclear, the New York Times reports that Trump came into contact with over 100 people at the event. Officials have also told the Washington Post that he did not wear a mask at the fundraiser.

Rome to introduce outdoor mask rules

Some more news from Europe. Masks will have to be worn outdoors in the Italian capital Rome and surrounding areas from this weekend. A health official for the Lazio region said only children under six, those who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons and people exercising would be exempt from the rule.
Previously, masks were only mandatory in enclosed areas such as shops, although other regions, including Naples, have already introduced similar outdoor rules.
Italy was the first European country to face a significant number of coronavirus infections at the beginning of the pandemic, but authorities in the country have so far managed to prevent the second wave seen elsewhere on the continent.
On Thursday, however, the number of daily infections in Italy rose to more than 2,000 for the first time since late April.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 17:53

Trump experiencing 'mild symptoms'

President Donald Trump is experiencing "mild symptoms" of Covid-19, the Associated Press and New York Times report, quoting an unnamed White House official.
Earlier, the president's doctor said Trump and First Lady Melania, who has also tested positive, were both well and planned "to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence".

Republican National Committee chief tests positive

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Ronna McDaniel was tested after a member of her family contracted the virus

The US Republican National Committee (RNC) has confirmed that its chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has tested positive for Covid-19.
In a statement, the RNC said she received the news on Wednesday, and was tested after a member of her family contracted the virus. They added that she has been at her home in the state of Michigan since last Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the last hour, we have also heard that several members of Donald Trump's family - his son Barron, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner - have tested negative.

Trump will be frustrated with self-isolation, his ex-doctor says

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Dr Ronny Jackson served as the president's physician in the Obama administration as well as for Trump

President Trump will be "frustrated" by having to self-isolate, his former doctor has told the BBC.
"He does love to be out among the folks, out on the campaign trail,” said Dr Ronny Jackson, who was the official physician to the president until 2018, and is now running for Congress as a Republican.
He said Trump is in "incredible health", and that it could be less than 10 days before the president is testing negative for the virus and is "back to his normal style".
"It reminds us all that he's the president of the United States, but he is a human being just like the rest of us and is also susceptible to this kind of stuff, too," Dr Jackson told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
"So if he gets past this and he remains asymptomatic, I think it will reassure a lot of folks in this country."

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 17:58

Inmates stuck in cells for 23.5 hours a day in English jail as cases rise

Inmates at a prison in Nottinghamshire are being held in their cells for all but 30 minutes a day as the number of coronavirus cases there rises to 84.
Nottinghamshire's public health director Jonathan Gribbin said prisoners at HMP Lowdham Grange have all been issued face masks and mobile testing units are on site.
With 63 prisoners and 21 staff members testing positive, Gribbin added that workers could also be contributing to an increase in cases in other parts of the county.
"We have seen rates in Newark and Sherwood have surged over the last 10 days or so," he said. "The situation in Lowdham Grange prison is a significant driver of those rates locally."
Prison director Mark Hanson said he was working with Public Health England, the NHS and the council "to look after everyone in the prison and we are taking every measure possible to keep them safe, maintain their mental wellbeing and combat the virus".

Analysis: UK Covid-19 cases rising - but not as quickly as feared

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent
It is easy to feel lost in the mass of coronavirus data, but overall the story is very simple. Cases are going up. It is not as bad as March. Things are better than anticipated two weeks ago.
Imagine the epidemic in the UK is a car and we are behind the wheel.
At the start of the year we had our foot to floor and the epidemic was rapidly picking up speed. Lockdown was like slamming on the brakes. We slowed down, but without coming to a stop as we still had Covid cases.
We continued moving at a fairly steady speed over summer, but in early September we hit the accelerator again and cases started to shoot up.
The semi-positive news is it looks like we have eased off the accelerator a bit. We are still gaining speed, just not as much as feared just a few weeks ago.
How many cases are there in your area?

US 'doomsday plane' rumours fly around social media

Alistair Coleman and Christopher Giles - BBC Anti-disinformation unit
President Trump's diagnosis prompted all sorts of unsubstantiated rumours online. One of the scariest was that a US plane that can deliver commands to nuclear missiles was launched because of the news.
One viral tweet claimed that the E-6B Mercury was launched to warn "adversaries" - a show of force to deter a potential attack. The tweet included an image of a flight path over the east coast of America taken from a flight tracking site.
But public flight data shows that E-6B Mercury flights - often called "doomsday planes" - are common, even when the president is well. In fact, they happen about every other day.
The particular plane in question has flown 19 times in the past month. The flight may also be part of a military exercise that was publicly announced by US Strategic Command.
That the latest flight coincided with President Trump's diagnosis seems to be nothing more than a coincidence.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:02

US debate moderator Chris Wallace to be tested

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Chris Wallace was widely praised for his role in this week's presidential debate

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated this week's heated debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, has said he will be getting tested for coronavirus in light of the president's diagnosis.
Speaking on Fox News, Wallace said Trump never approached him and was always at least 10ft (3m) away.
"There was no sign during the debate of any problems with the president in terms of his health, but it is worth noting that the different people treated the safety rules inside the hall differently," he said, adding that no members of the Trump family wore a mask.
The 72-year-old shot to international attention for his handling of the debate. He said he believed President Trump's diagnosis will have a "dramatic impact" on the election.
"This is going to put Covid back at the top of the agenda and this will raise questions again about whether the president has been serious enough in the way he has treated Covid now that he has caught it himself," Wallace said. "That may be fair or unfair but it's the political fact of life."

Disappearing Covid-19 app alerts cause alarm

Rory Cellan-Jones - Technology correspondent
All week there has been concern from users of the England and Wales NHS Covid-19 app about disturbing alerts that quickly vanish. Now the Department of Health says it is working on a fix - but warned it could take some time.
The alerts are generated by the underlying Apple and Google framework rather than the app itself, but they are causing alarm and confusion.
Lee Stanley, who says he installed the app last Thursday as soon as it was available, saw this message flash up: "Possible Covid-19 exposure. Someone you were near reported having Covid-19. Exposure date, duration and signal strength have been saved."
He said: "When I clicked on that to open up the notification to see what happened, it didn't do anything."
That message received by Lee - and many others - merely signals that the Bluetooth contact tracing is working and has made contact with someone infected with Covid-19. But that contact does not meet the threshold set by the scientists advising the NHS, as significant enough to force someone into isolation.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:04

Trump campaign tells staff to self-isolate if exposed to virus

The Trump campaign has told staff who have been in contact with anyone testing positive for coronavirus to "immediately begin" self-isolation
Campaign manager Bill Stepien said in an email sent out on Friday that some public events would be cancelled, but stressed that "the campaign office remains open and our nationwide team will continue with our efforts to re-elect President Trump".
"While we do not believe anyone else without symptoms needs to self-quarantine at this time, it is on all of us to continue to exercise the smart judgment and practices the campaign has long encouraged: wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance, check in via the live safe app on a daily basis and work from home if you’re not feeling well," the email advised.

How world's media reacted to Trump news

With just 32 days until the US election, the announcement that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania had tested positive for coronavirus shot to the top of every news agenda across the globe.
In much of the world's media, the news was accompanied by criticism of what was said to be the US president's "botched" response to the coronavirus pandemic , and his "open scepticism" over the use of face masks and social distancing.
German media seemed somewhat unsurprised. "Trump usually does not wear a mask in public", wrote the centre-right Die Welt , while the centrist Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung pointed out that the pandemic did not deter him from making numerous major election campaign appearances.
Media in France echoed the sentiment that Trump undermined his own health by underestimating the virus.
Iran's international-facing English-language Press TV observed that Trump "has been somewhat cavalier" about the Covid-19 threat, adding that "it was only a matter of time" before the US president caught the virus.
We have a round-up of global press reaction here.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:08

Madrid to enter partial lockdown tonight

News from Europe now, where we are told the Spanish capital will enter a partial lockdown from 22:00 (20:00 GMT) tonight.
Some 4.8 million people in Madrid and nine neighbouring towns will not be allowed to leave the area unless they have to make an essential journey. Restaurants and bars will shut earlier.
Madrid has a rate of 780 infections per 100,000 people and meets the criteria agreed by regional governments – who are in charge of healthcare – to impose restrictions.
Although it is complying with the ruling, Madrid’s regional government did not vote in favour of the restrictions and has launched a legal challenge against them.

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Nearly 7,000 more Covid-19 cases in the UK

A further 6,968 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
Sixty-six people have died who had tested positive for Covid-19 within 28 days of their deaths, the figures show.
It takes the overall UK death total from coronavirus to 42,268.
Since the start of the pandemic 467,146 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:14

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Trump displaying 'mild symptoms'

The White House chief of staff has been briefing reporters on the president's condition and says he is experiencing "mild symptoms" from coronavirus. But, Mark Meadows added, Mr Trump is still "very energetic," and he and the first lady are in "good spirits".
"Core members" of the Trump administration had been tested and all results had come back negative, the official said.
"I fully expect that, as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result... and we’ve got the mitigation plan in place to make sure the government not only continues to move forward, but the work of the American people continues to move forward.”
Mr Meadows was not wearing a mask as he spoke to the media. Defending that choice he said he had already been tested for the virus and was standing more than six feet (1.8 metres) away from journalists.

Melania Trump 'feeling good'

US First Lady Melania Trump has been tweeting about the well wishes that have been pouring in, and says she is "feeling good", despite suffering from mild symptoms of coronavirus.
Tweet  Melania Trump :Left Quotes: :
Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery.

Who has Trump been in contact with this week?

Donald Trump's diagnosis comes after a hectic week running his administration and campaigning ahead of the 3 November election - during which time he has interacted with many high-level officials.
From meeting his new Supreme Court pick and taking the stage with Joe Biden for their first presidential debate, to attending rallies across the country, the president has been a busy man. Check out our guide to where Trump was and who he was with in the last few days.
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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:19

Lockdown was a glimpse of something new - Green Party

In the UK, the coronavirus lockdown caused "heartbreaking" suffering to many but also gave people a "glimpse" of a new and different world with less pollution and more social cohesion, the leaders of the Green Party of England and Wales have told their annual conference.
Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry said the virus had exposed just how unequal the country was and how its economic system was "not fit for purpose".
Mr Bartley said that during the nationwide lockdown, businesses had demonstrated they could adapt to new ways of operating, communities "came together in solidarity", the value of key workers was properly recognised, rough sleepers were taken off the streets and tenants were protected from eviction.
"We saw a different world might be possible in lockdown... we had a glimpse of something new," he added.
Ms Berry said the £1tn in investment the Greens called for at last year's election to build a more sustainable economy and to allow the UK to go carbon neutral by 2030 was needed even more now.
Read more from the Green Party conference here.

'Masks and speed-walks at the White House'

Tara McKelvey - BBC News, The White House
Here at the White House, all the officials are wearing masks this morning, a departure from the way things have been in recent days.
They had maintained a sense of normalcy here, even while workers in other parts of the city masked up. The White House officials were reinforcing the president’s message that the country had turned a corner.
Today, though, the president’s public events have been cancelled, and he is quarantined. The faces of officials, partly hidden behind masks, look anxious as they speed-walk through hallways.
Journalists, too, are uneasy: Six are lined up behind me as we wait to get tested.
“Have you had any symptoms this morning?” a medical worker asks. He is standing in a cubicle cluttered with hand sanitiser bottles and boxes of coffee grounds.
Ten quick swabs and I am sent on my way. He and his colleagues are doing their best to ensure the virus does not spread any further than it already has, and we are all hoping for the best.

What if Trump were unable to stand for election?

Reality Check
The US president's positive Covid-19 test has led to inevitable questions about the presidential election on 3 November, and about what would happen if he was incapacitated. There's no suggestion that things are that serious, but they're certainly questions at the front of many people's minds.
Although Vice-President Mike Pence would be in line to assume presidential duties if Mr Trump became unable to act as president, Mr Pence wouldn’t necessarily be the Republican party’s candidate as it has already officially nominated Mr Trump.
Under the party’s rules , the 168 members of the Republic National Committee (RNC) would have to vote to elect a new presidential nominee, with Mr Pence one of the likely candidates.
If he was chosen, the party would then have to select a new running mate. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have ever replaced their presidential nominee after officially selecting them.
Read more: What if Trump became too ill to be president

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:25

More than 750 students test positive in Newcastle

News from the English city of Newcastle now, where some 770 students at Northumbria University have tested positive for Covid-19.
A spokesperson for the university said 78 of the affected students were showing symptoms.
"These students are all now self-isolating. Their flatmates and any close contacts are also self-isolating for 14 days in line with government guidance and have been advised to book a test as soon as possible should symptoms appear," the university said.

What's happened in the UK today?
If you're just joining us you'll be aware of the big developments in the US, but there have also been some important stories coming out of the UK:

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:30

Has anyone in Trump's cabinet tested positive?

A little earlier we heard from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who said that all "core members" of the Trump administration had been tested for coronavirus, and all results were negative.
He didn't specify who he was talking about, but since Donald Trump's diagnosis, several members of his cabinet have declared themselves free of Covid-19:

  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
  • Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Attorney General William Barr

That leaves 17 more cabinet members who've yet to speak publicly on their test results, including the secretaries of defence, energy, and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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BBC EXCLUSIVE: Michael Cohen on Trump

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Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen - who has served a jail term for Trump campaign finance violations, among other crimes - has been weighing in on the situation to the BBC's Suzanne Kianpour.
"This whole situation is tragic in that this was all preventable," Cohen says of his ex-boss, with whom he has had a very public falling out.
"What makes Trump reckless is that he has access to the greatest, unlimited medical attention. Proper testing could have avoided all of this for him and others. Trump is now Covid-positive because of ignorance and arrogance.”

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:35

People in UK 'complacent' over virus - Johnson

The recent spike in coronavirus cases in the UK is a result of a "fraying of people's discipline" over the summer, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
He said compliance with the virus restrictions had been "high at first" but then "everybody got a bit, kind of complacent and blasé".
Cases have increased sharply across the UK since the end of August.
The prime minister, who has been speaking to journalists from around the country , denied that a lack of testing in north-east England had caused the virus to get out of control in the region.
"That's not the reality… the nation came together in March and April, what happened over the summer was a bit of sort of fraying of people's discipline and attention to those rules," he said.

Boris Johnson rejects Wales-England travel ban

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rejected a call by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford to ban people travelling from Covid hotspots in England to Wales.
People living in locked down areas of Wales can only leave with a "reasonable excuse" but there is no equivalent rule elsewhere in the UK.
It means people from locked down areas of England can holiday anywhere in Wales not under local restrictions. However the prime minister said he did not want to introduce limits on travel.

Biden tests negative for coronavirus

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said both he and his wife have tested negative for coronavirus.
A statement issued by the couple's doctor said they underwent testing on Friday morning.
Tweet  Joe Biden:
:Left Quotes:  I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID. Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.
Biden and Trump, who has tested positive for the virus, took part in the first presidential debate of the campaign on Tuesday night.
During the debate, President Trump mocked his opponent for wearing masks on the campaign trail.
"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 them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, will debate Vice President Mike Pence in an event on 7 October. Both have tested negative for coronavirus since Trump's diagnosis.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:39

New UK travel restrictions coming into effect

A friendly reminder to those travelling to or from the UK in the near future, that from 04:00 BST on Saturday, quarantine restrictions will apply to people entering the UK from Turkey and Poland.
No new countries are being added to the UK's list of safe countries this week, but the fine for repeatedly breaking the self-isolation rules in England has been increased to £10,000.
To see the full list of quarantine countries, click here.

Utah senator tests positive after White House visit

Republican Senator Mike Lee - a member of the committee that will oversee the appointment of the next US Supreme Court justice - says he has tested positive for Covid-19.
The Utah senator said he had been tested several days ago while visiting the White House, and the result came back negative at the time.
"Like so many Utahns, I will now spend part of 2020 working from home," he added.
Tweet  Mike Lee:
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Last week Presidential Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a favourite of social conservatives, to fill the vacancy in the US's top court which came about following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Lee met Barrett on Tuesday as she visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The judge has tested negative for coronavirus and she is following government guidelines on social distancing, the White House says.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 18:42

Met and British Transport Police investigate Scottish MP

London's Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police have confirmed they are investigating Scottish National Party MP Margaret Ferrier after she returned to Scotland by train from London knowing she had tested positive for Covid-19.
As we reported earlier, the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP initially travelled to Westminster from Glasgow having developed coronavirus symptoms before then returning by train.
A Met Police statement said an MP had contacted Police Scotland on Thursday to report she may have breached Covid-19 guidance in relation to a train journey on Tuesday after a positive test.
It said: "Following consultation with Police Scotland, officers from the Metropolitan Police, working with British Transport Police, are conducting an investigation into potential offences.
"The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has been informed."

Trump cancels call with vulnerable seniors

US media are reporting that Covid-positive President Trump has cancelled his only scheduled event on Friday as he and the first lady isolate in the White House.
The event was set to be a phone call on Covid-19 support to vulnerable older people.

'Nobody expected it' - White House staff react

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White House officials have been speaking to reporters - largely on condition of anonymity - about the mood in the administration following the president's diagnosis.
"People would be lying if the say they aren't concerned," one senior administration official told CBS News. "You will likely see more masks around here."
Another official said staff "expected" a top figure would eventually get the virus, but "nobody expected it to be [the president]". They said it couldn't be blamed on a lax use of masks and social distancing, but acknowledged "some behaviour will change".
Another senior official said situation in the White House was "crazy", but stressed that all staff in proximity to the president were tested daily.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 19:57

Analysis: Who's eating out now?

Philippa Roxby - Health reporter, BBC News
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People have been less likely to leave their homes to socialise since the "rule of six" was introduced in its various forms across England, Wales and Scotland.
A survey of nearly 2,000 people by the Office for National Statistics near the end of September has suggested that 20% of adults went out to meet friends or family, compared with 30% the week before.
There were also reductions - although smaller ones - in the percentage of people eating or drinking in a restaurant, cafe, bar or pub.
Just four in 10 adults said they were comfortable eating indoors in a restaurant when asked between 24 and 27 September.
"Rule of six" measures came into place 10 days before to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, with guidance on the rules varying across the UK nations.
The ONS survey also suggests extra restrictions in force in many areas of the UK are having the desired effect by putting people off socialising.
Some 37% of those in local lockdown areas had not mixed with anyone outside their household, compared with 22% of people in the rest of the country.
But people are more anxious than they have been since the end of May – three-quarters said they were worried about the effects of Covid-19 on their life right now.

Trump campaign events 'postponed or virtual'

News is just coming in from the Trump campaign that all previously announced events involving the president are in the process of being moved to virtual events or being temporarily postponed.
Bill Stepien, the Trump 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement that events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily halted.
"All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead," he said
"Vice-President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for Covid-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events," he added.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 20:02

Police investigate funeral attended by hundreds

Police in England are investigating a funeral attended by "400 or 500 people" despite government guidance only allowing 30 mourners.
Bedfordshire Police dispatched officers when "large crowds" gathered outside a church in Dunstable.
Conservative MP for the town Andrew Selous said he was very angry about the "flagrant breach" of rules at what he described as a "traveller funeral".
The police said officers "understand that people wish to pay their respects to their loved ones... but everyone needs to follow the rules".
Ch Insp Lee Haines said: "The funeral was initially attended by lower numbers of people, as planned, but larger crowds subsequently started gathering outside the church where the funeral was taking place."

Hard to mask the tension at the White House

Tara McKelvey - BBC News, The White House
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The president’s economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, was not wearing a mask as he spoke with journalists in front of the West Wing - not at first.
Then I asked him about masks and so did another reporter. Mr Kudlow was soon fumbling with a mask, one he had brought along but had not put on. He tugged at it for a moment and then, wearing a mask, he looked up at the reporters as if to say: Happy now?
Mr Kudlow clearly was not - and neither was press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who spoke with us earlier, or the other staffers. They are trying to manage a barrage of questions about what is being done to control the spread of the virus here at the White House and beyond.
At the same time, they are in the midst of a complex contact-tracing effort as they try to track down those who were exposed to the virus so they can stop it from spreading further.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 20:06

University warned it was too soon for 'mass campus return'

As we told you earlier 770 students at Northumbria University, in the northern English city of Newcastle, have tested positive for coronavirus .
Self-isolating students are being provided with food, laundry, cleaning materials and welfare support by the university, which is working alongside the students' union and Newcastle City Council.
But the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said it had warned the university it was too soon for a "mass return" to campus with the region having local restrictions in place.
Northumbria said students who missed out on face-to-face tuition will be given additional academic support but warned students who break the rules will face disciplinary action.
Ellie Burgoyne, 19, who studies social sciences, has been isolating since one of her flatmates tested positive a week ago.
She said: "The uni and accommodation have been great in providing support and keeping us as comfortable as possible as not leaving our flat for two weeks isn't the most fun."

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 20:34

UK round-up

If you are just joining us here is what you have missed so far from around the UK today.

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested the recent spike in coronavirus cases has been the result of a "fraying of people's discipline" over the summer . After relaxing the rules over the summer the government has tightened restrictions with around 16.8 million people now under extra measures.
  • The police have launched an investigation into SNP MP Magaret Ferrier who travelled from London to Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus. She has had the party whip removed and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she should resign as an MP.
  • The prime minister has rejected a plea from the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford to ban people from travelling to Wales from coronavirus hotspots. People living in locked down areas of Wales can only leave with a "reasonable excuse" but there is no equivalent rule elsewhere in the UK.
  • In Newcastle, 770 students at Northumbria University have tested positive for Covid-19 and are now isolating along with flatmates and close contacts.
  • In more positive news, data analysis suggests that new cases of the virus are increasing at a slower pace . But the R number, the rate at which the virus spreads, has increased to between 1.3 and 1.6.

If you have found it hard to keep up with what the coronavirus rules are in your area you can use our handy tool here .

Lovers reunite and social circles shrink in Canada

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A testing centre in Toronto

Canada is loosening some border restrictions, after largely being shut since March to most visitors.
People will now be allowed in if they are:

  • Significant others of Canadian residents, even if they're not married
  • Visiting a sick or dying relative
  • An international student attending a school with an approved Covid-19 plan

Anyone entering the country from another country will still have to quarantine for 14 days.
Meanwhile, social circles in Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will shrink.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford told people to stop socialising outside of their household. Previously, the province had been allowed people to "bubble" in groups of 10.
City heath officials didn't think he went far enough. Toronto's chief medical officer said indoor dining and gyms need to close, and people should go back to only leaving their home for essential purposes.
Ontario saw 732 new cases today, breaking its previous record of 700 cases, on 28 September.

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 21:34

Vice-presidential debate to go ahead

The debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden's vice-presidential candidates will go ahead despite the US president catching Covid-19.
Vice-President Mike Pence and his Democratic opponent Kamala Harris will go head-to-head on 7 October at the University of Utah as planned, the Associated Press has reported .
A source at the Commission for Presidential Debates said there were no plans to scrap the event on Wednesday.
Both candidates have said they returned negative coronavirus tests on Friday.
it is not yet clear what will happen to the next presidential debate, scheduled for 15 October.


Trump 'fatigued but in good spirits' - White House physician

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has released an update on the president's health from his physician.
In a statement, Dr Sean Conley said the president was "fatigued but in good spirits". Meanwhile Melania Trump "remains well with only a mild cough and headache."
The remainder of the president's family have tested negative.

Social embed from twitter

Tweet  Kayleigh McEnany:
An update from President @realDonaldTrump 's physician:
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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 22:26

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Trump taken to hospital

US President Donald Trump is being taken to Walter Reed Medical Centre, in Maryland, following his diagnosis with coronavirus.
White House reporters have been told he is going there for tests.
Earlier today, his Chief of Staff Matt Meadows told reporters that the president was displaying "mild symptoms." Trump's physician also confirmed the president was "fatigued but in good spirits."

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Post by Kitkat Fri Oct 02 2020, 22:37

Trump 'remains in high spirits' - White House press secretary

More now on the news that President Trump is on his way to Walter Reed Military Hospital.
He will travel from the White House on helicopter Marine One.
“President Trump remains in good spirits, has mild symptoms, and has been working throughout the day. Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the president will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters.
“President Trump appreciates the outpouring of support for both he and the First Lady,” she added.
Mr Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier on Friday. Earlier today his physician said he was only suffering from mild symptoms.

What do we know about Trump's condition?

As news breaks about President Trump being moved to hospital, here's everything we know about his current state of health:

  • Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters earlier today that Trump was displaying "mild symptoms" of coronavirus
  • White House physician Sean Conley also said the president was "fatigued but in good spirits," and that he was being evaluated by "a team of experts"
  • Unnamed sources told CNN and Reuters news agency that Trump has a fever. He also has a cough and nasal congestion, two sources told the Washington Post. None of these symptoms have been officially confirmed.

What happens if Trump becomes incapacitated?

If President Trump becomes incapacitated, the US constitution says under the 25th amendment, a president can hand over power to the vice-president. This means Mike Pence would become acting president. Once fit again, Mr Trump could reclaim his position.
In the case that he is too unwell to hand over, the cabinet and vice-president could declare him unable to continue, and Mr Pence would assume the role.
There have been cases where a president has been incapacitated before. In 1985, when President Ronald Reagan was in hospital for cancer surgery, he placed his vice-president George HW Bush, in charge.
In 2002 and 2007, President George W Bush did the same with his vice-president when he was sedated during routine colonoscopies.
The White House says President Trump will continue to work while staying in hospital.
You can read more here

What is Walter Reed Military Hospital like?

President Trump is being taken to Walter Reed Military Hospital - the White House says he will work from presidential offices there.
Walter Reed is well known for treating presidents and top military officials – it’s known as the President’s Hospital.
In 2011, it moved from Washington DC to a new location in Bethesda, Maryland.
It has treated presidents and servicemen for more than a century.
Earlier this year Mr Trump visited wounded soldiers and health care workers at the hospital. It was the first time he was pictured wearing a face mask.

Trump leaves for hospital

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Donald Trump has just left the White House in his official helicopter for the Walter Reed Military Hospital.
The journey is expected to take around 10 minutes.
The president did not talk to journalists but waved before entering the helicopter.

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