United States President Donald Trump has said he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus and are in quarantine.
The president announced the news in a tweet.
The tweer reads: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
The First Lady also issued her own statement on Twitter, saying: “As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19.”
She added: “We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”
The diagnosis marked a major blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them even as cases continue to rise with less than four weeks to go before election day.
It comes after one of Mr Trump’s closest aides tested positive for coronavirus.
Hope Hicks, the 31-year-old adviser to the president, was the closest aide to Mr Trump to test positive so far.
She travelled with him on Air Force One to a TV debate in Ohio earlier this week.
In the early hours of Friday, as news of his positive test broke on the US east coast, the death toll stood at 207,789, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
Mr Trump’s White House doctor has since issued a statement saying the president will continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” despite contracting the disease.
Dr Sean Conley, physician to the president, says Mr Trump and the first lady “are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, Mr Trump had said he was awaiting results of a Covid-19 test. “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” he said, adding that first lady Melania Trump was also awaiting results.
Ms Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She was seen by reporters both with and without a face mask.
Trump has cancelled plans to attend a fundraiser and to fly to Florida for a rally on Friday, but he did keep on his schedule a previously arranged midday telephone call “on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”
Before that bombshell development, the first lady was already facing controversy after a former friend and aide released audio in which Mrs Trump can be heard talking about criticism she was subjected to over children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.
“Give me a f***ing break,” the first lady complains on the recording played on Anderson Cooper’s CNN evening show.
The tapes were made by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has just published a new book about their time together, entitled Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady.