Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

Trump: catching Covid-19 was 'blessing from God'

US president credits recovery to experimental medication and promises to introduce it free of charge in American hospitals

US President Donald Trump told viewers that catching Covid 19 was a "blessing from God" and pledged to make the experimental medication he took free for all Americans.

In a video posted on Wednesday evening, Mr Trump said his illness had shed light on an experimental antibody cocktail that he tied to his improved condition.

"I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise," Mr Trump said.

He said his use of the medication from Regeneron Pharmaceutical allowed him to experience first-hand how effective it could be.

The White House is yet to say if Mr Trump has tested negative since catching the coronavirus.

Eager to revitalise his ailing re-election campaign two days after his release from Walter Reed military hospital, he repeatedly stressed how well he felt in his recovery from Covid-19.

Mr Trump said it could help in the nation’s battle against the pandemic, but there was no way he or his doctors could know whether the drug had any effect.

Mr Trump, who has been widely criticised for his slow response to the pandemic that has killed more than 217,000 Americans, and putting his own staff at risk by discouraging the use of masks, also praised similar medication from Eli Lilly.

More than 20 people in the White House have tested positive since Mr Trump's announcement on Friday.

“I want to get for you what I got and I’m going to make it free,” he said, describing the unapproved medicine a “cure.”

The time of the recording was unclear. Mr Trump said he had returned to the White House “a day ago", suggesting he was speaking on Tuesday.

But his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the video was recorded earlier on Wednesday.

Its release followed White House assurances that Mr Trump, 74, was back at the Oval Office on Wednesday, being briefed about economic stimulus talks and Hurricane Delta.

This contravened the White House containment measures spoken of as he left Walter Reed, saying office spaces where he could isolate had been arranged in the White House residence.

A White House official said Mr Trump entered the office from the Rose Garden to avoid walking through the White House hallways and exposing others to the coronavirus.

Mr Meadows, who briefed Mr Trump in personal protective gear, said the White House was keeping access to the Oval Office limited.

Questions continue about Mr Trump’s recovery and when he might be able to return to normal activities, including campaigning, less than a month before the voting day.

The video marked the President's first appearance before a camera in almost two days.

The White House has released only limited details about his condition and treatment.

Updated: October 9, 2020 03:26 AM

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