Joe Biden tests negative for Covid-19

US President suffered rebound infection seven days ago

US President Joe Biden's coronavirus condition has improved, although he needs a second negative test to resume full duties. AP
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US President Joe Biden has tested negative for the coronavirus after having tested positive for days, the White House doctor said on Saturday.

The president, "in an abundance of caution", will remain in isolation until he tests negative for a second time, Dr Kevin O'Connor said in a memo released by the White House.

Mr Biden, 79, emerged from isolation at the White House on July 27 after testing positive for the coronavirus for the first time on July 21.

He tested positive again on July 30 in what Dr O'Connor described as a "rebound" case which occurs in a small percentage of people who take the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

The illness has kept Mr Biden from travelling and attending public events, although he has appeared at meetings online.

He made two sets of remarks outdoors this week, on Monday to mark the killing of Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri and on Friday to discuss US jobs figures.

Coronavirus negative status will allow Mr Biden to go ahead with a planned trip to Kentucky on Monday and participate in bill signings at the White House next week to celebrate a series of recent legislative victories on semiconductor manufacturing and veterans' health.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told journalists in Las Vegas that the administration was eager for Mr Biden to return to travelling and meeting people.

“He’s doing great. He actually tested negative this morning, so yay," she said. "He’s been doing very, very well.”

Mr Biden suffered mild symptoms, including body aches and a cough, during his initial bout of Covid-19. The president is fully vaccinated and has had a booster against the virus.

The White House was eager to demonstrate that he was working through his illness, and the president made a point of contrasting his condition with that of his predecessor Donald Trump's case in 2020, before vaccines were available, when he ended up in hospital.

Updated: August 07, 2022, 8:18 AM