Trump coronavirus: Which world leaders and officials have had Covid-19?

Virus has repeatedly struck political figures, complicating pandemic response

Vincent Wood
Friday 02 October 2020 08:40
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Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is among those to have contracted the virus
Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is among those to have contracted the virus

The Covid-19 coronavirus has spread rapidly over the last eight months — impacting every inhabited continent and resulting in more than 11.7 million cases globally.

However the state response to the virus has been complicated in some countries by the sickness of heads of state who would otherwise be tasked with leading them through the crisis.

Here are some of the world leaders who have found themselves to have been infected by Covid-19.

Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania announced they began their quarantine on 2 October immediately after testing for Covid-19. It comes just 30 days away from the race for the presidency. At age 74 and being clinically obese, Mr Trump falls into a greater risk category for coronavirus than his 50-year-old wife Melania. The President spent months playing down the severity of the virus, even as the death toll in the US passed 200,000 and the total number of infected Americans hit 7.2 million.

Jair Bolsonaro

Having played down the severity of the virus for several months, the Brazilian president was confirmed to have contracted the virus on 7 July. Mr Bolsonaro had previously described Covid-19 as a “little flu”, and had been a vocal supported of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug touted by US president Donald Trump that is yet to have its efficacy proven.

Boris Johnson

Having tested positive for the virus at roughly the same time as health secretary Matt Hancock — and weeks after minister Nadine Dorries — the prime minister was forced to hand over his official duties to Dominic Raab as he was treated in intensive care. Speaking after his hospitalisation, Mr Johnson said the severity of his condition meant plans had been drawn up in the event of his death.

Others in the UK to have contracted the virus include MPs Kate Osborne, Tony Lloyd and Llloyd Russel-Moyle, as well as Prince Charles. All have since recovered.

Michel Barnier

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier tested positive on 19 March, when talks between Brussels and London had already been postponed due to the virus. He returned to his post just under a month later.

Iraj Harirchi

Iran’s deputy health minister was one of the first figures on the world stage to have contracted a confirmed case of the virus — and quickly became emblematic of an alleged cover-up of infections in the country. Defending a case rate of 95 in February despite claims the number was in fact much higher, Mr Harirchi could be seen sweating profusely in a press conference the day before his positive test. He was noted to have fully recovered from the virus, which in early March had infected around 8 per cent of the nation’s parliament, a fortnight later. The nation’s vice president, Eshaq Jahangiri, was also among those to have been infected

Pierre Nkurunziza

Questions have continued to circle around the death of the Burundi’s president-elect, who passed away on an unspecified date in early June. While the government officially confirmed his passing to be the result of a heart attack, multiple reports from diplomats and medical sources have claimed he was infected with the virus, which had been passed on to several others in his circle. If confirmed, his would be the first death of a world leader to be attributed to Covid-19.

Rand Paul

The Republican lawmaker was the first senator to have a confirmed case of the virus, which also led Senators Ted Cru, Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham, to quarantine after coming into contact with those who had been infected. Scores of members of the house of representatives also contracted the virus.

A number of people in Donald Trump’s inner circle, most notably an assistant to his daughter Ivanka and VP Mike Pence’s top spokesperson, also tested positive for the virus. In early May, the 45th president claimed he had taken a course of hydroxychloroquine — an anti-malaria drug that is yet to be proven as a Covid-19 treatment — as a “preventative measure”.

Peter Dutton

The Australian home affairs minister tested positive for the virus after returning from the US, where he had been pictured with a number of high-profile figures including Ivanka Trump. At the time he was among the nation’s 156 confirmed cases — a figure that included actor Tom Hanks, who was in Queensland when he fell ill.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau

The wife of Justin Trudeau was confirmed to have caught the virus in mid-March, prompting the Canadian leader to quarantine with her and run the country from his home. Her symptoms were described as mild, while the PM was never confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Prince Albert II of Monaco

It was confirmed the province’s head of state had contracted the virus in mid-March, but medical practitioners said he was fully cured by 1 April.

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