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Biden 'doing well' after positive COVID-19 test

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Joe Biden, the oldest person ever to serve as president of the United States, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the White House says.

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Biden, 79, has a runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough, symptoms which he began to experience late on Wednesday, White House physician Kevin O’Connor said in a note released on Thursday.

Biden has begun taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid, O’Connor said.

Fully vaccinated and twice boosted, Biden said he was “doing well” in a video posted on his Twitter account and will continue working but in isolation.

In the 21-second clip, he also said he was “getting a lot of work done” and would continue with his duties.

A photograph on his Twitter account showed him smiling, wearing a blazer and sitting at a desk with papers.

White House COVID-19 coordinator, Dr Ashish Jha, said Biden’s oxygen levels were normal and the president would isolate for five days and return to public events once he had a negative test.

Biden became ill at a time when his administration is grappling with soaring inflation and Russia’s land assault on Ukraine.

His popularity has dropped sharply over the past year.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey completed on Tuesday showed 36 per cent of people in the US approve of his job performance.

His illness forced the cancellation of a trip to Pennsylvania where Biden intended to lay out plans to ask Congress for $US37 billion ($A54 billion) for crime prevention programs.

The White House provided an unusually detailed account of the president’s morning activities, including a series of phone calls to political allies.

Multiple members of Biden’s administration and other senior figures in Washington DC have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months, including Vice President Kamala Harris and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, both of whom have since tested negative and resumed working.

Biden set up strict COVID-19 safety protocols at the White House, urged the public to take the virus seriously and campaigned for everyone to get fully vaccinated.

He is tested regularly for the disease and anyone who meets with him or travels with him is tested beforehand, the White House has said.

Biden had last tested negative on Tuesday.

He has stopped wearing a mask at public events in recent months, and the White House dropped its mask requirement ahead of his March 1 State of the Union Address.

Biden joins a roster of world leaders who have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic started in early 2020.

A month before he lost the 2020 presidential election to Biden, Donald Trump contracted the virus.

Biden’s wife Jill tested negative on Thursday morning in Detroit and plans to maintain her full schedule of travel in Michigan and Georgia, according to her spokesman Michael LaRosa.

 – AAP & Reuters

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