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Covid: Donald Trump and Melania test positive

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US President Donald Trump has said he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus and are now self-isolating.

Mr Trump, aged 74 and therefore in a high-risk group, wrote on Twitter: “We will get through this together.”

It comes after Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, tested positive.

Mr Trump’s announcement comes just over a month before the presidential elections on November 3 where he faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Ms Hicks, 31, travelled with Mr Trump on Air Force One to the first presidential TV debate with Mr Biden in Ohio on Tuesday. Some of Mr Trump’s family members who attended the debate were seen not wearing masks.

A person is required to self-isolate after either showing coronavirus symptoms or a positive test. Meanwhile, quarantine restricts the movements of those who have been in contact with an infected person, but are not themselves positive or symptomatic.

Mr Trump has mostly spurned mask-wearing and has often been pictured not socially distanced with aides or others during official engagements.

The coronavirus has infected more than 7.2 million Americans, killing more than 200,000 of them.

Mr Trump’s physician, Dr Sean Conley, released a statement late on Thursday, saying the president and the first lady were “both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence”.

“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,” the statement said.

The physician provided no further details.

According to Mr Trump’s most recent physical examination earlier this year, he weighed 244lbs (110.7kg). This is considered to be obese for his height of 1.9m (6ft 3ins).

But Dr Conley stated at the time that the president “remains healthy”. Mr Trump will also have the best medical care available.

America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person must self-isolate for 10 days after a positive test.

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 20s.

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.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump said he and his wife, who is 50, were going into quarantine after Ms Hicks’s positive test.

He tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!

“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”

It is not clear how Mr Trump’s positive test will affect arrangements for the second presidential debate, which is scheduled for 15 October in Miami, Florida.

Mr Trump is not the first world leader to have tested positive. Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro were infected. They both have since recovered, although Mr Johnson had to receive regular oxygen treatment to help his breathing during hospitalisation. (BBC)

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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