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Before Trump, here are other world leaders who caught COVID-19

Written by on 02/10/2020

Donald and Melania Trump are the latest to join the list of world leaders who have contracted coronavirus.

The public nature of their lives – and need to be seen and meet people regularly – makes it hard to cut oneself off from human contact.

Sky News looks at some of the powerful people who have been laid low by the pandemic.

Latest coronavirus updates from UK and around the world

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump watch as planes flyover during the 2020 "Salute to America" event in honor of Independence Day on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, July 4, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Donald and Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19

Boris Johnson, UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus in March.

As he struggled to recover in Downing Street, Mr Johnson was eventually taken to St Thomas’ Hospital in London and later transferred to intensive care, where he spent three nights before recovering. He was discharged on 12 April.

The EU is taking legal action over Boris Johnson's controversial Internal Market Bill
Image: Boris Johnson said he owed his life to medical staff

The 55-year-old said he was indebted to the doctors and nurses who treated him, saying: “I owe them my life. I can’t thank them enough.”

Mr Johnson had revealed his positive test result on the same day as Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Hancock’s recovery was more straightforward, but he said he lost half a stone while was ill.

Boris Johnson has spent the night in intensive care
Image: Boris Johnson spent three nights in intensive care

Describing the effects of COVID-19, he told Sky News: “It is rough, especially when you are on the downhill part of it.

“It’s very worrying because we’ve all seen how serious it can get.”

Matt Hancock MP
Image: Matt Hancock tested positive for coronavirus at around the same time as the PM

Jeanine Anez, Bolivia

Bolivia‘s President Jeanine Anez announced in July she had tested positive for the virus.

Ms Anez, 52, said in a tweet she was “well” and continuing to work while in isolation.

“Together, we will come out of this,” she said.

Bolivian President Jeanine Anez signed a law protecting animals after recovering from coronavirus
Image: Bolivian President Jeanine Anez signed a law protecting animals after recovering from coronavirus

She had recovered and was back at work, she said, by the end of the month.

At least seven ministers, including the health minister, had tested positive.

Like Mr Trump, she was tested after many of her team had fallen ill.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil

Like his American counterpart, the Brazilian president has long played down the seriousness of coronavirus, despite nearly five million cases in his country.

At one point, he dismissed the disease as “a little flu”.

Jair Bolsonaro
Image: Jair Bolsonaro is one of leaders to play down the impact of coronavirus

The right-wing populist, 65, was confirmed to have contracted the virus on 7 July.

When he declared himself recovered 18 days later, he did so on Facebook, posing with hydroxychloroquine – the anti-malaria drug touted by Mr Trump that is yet to have its efficacy proven – and promptly went out to meet people without wearing a mask.

Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus

In July, the president of Belarus informed the world he had contracted coronavirus but recovered without suffering any symptoms.

The 66-year-old leader, who has frequently dismissed the illness as mass “psychosis” and told his compatriots a traditional sauna or drinking vodka will keep them safe, said he was asymptomatic.

Workers at a factory shouted “go away” or ''leave'' at President Alexander Lukashenko as he visited a factory in Minsk
Image: Alexander Lukashenko told Belarusians saunas and vodka would keep the disease at bay

Mr Lukashenko said: “97% of our people go through this illness without symptoms and thank God I’ve managed to get into this group of asymptomatic people.”

He has been widely criticised for failing to introduce the precautionary measures other countries have.

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April: Football still being played in Belarus despite pandemic

Alejandro Giammattei, Guatemala

Mr Giammattei, 64, revealed last month that he had tested positive and was suffering a high fever and body aches.

His announcement came on the same day that the country reopened its borders and two international airports, all of which had been closed since 16 March.

Alejandro Giammattei wearing a face mask, sings the national anthem during independence celebrations earlier this month
Image: Alejandro Giammattei wearing a face mask, sings the national anthem during independence celebrations earlier this month

Juan Orlando Hernandez, Honduras

Mr Hernandez, 51, left hospital early in July, 16 days after being admitted with coronavirus.

Speaking outside hospital, an emotional Mr Hernandez said: “Many think this is a game and it is not until they see a relative who gets sick or when they get sick themselves that they understand the seriousness of this issue.

“I thought about what would happen if I could not be with my family anymore.”

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez recovered from coronavirus
Image: Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez recovered from coronavirus

His wife, Ana Garcia de Hernandez, was recovering from the virus at home.

He asked the Honduran people to help him to fight the virus by taking individual responsibility, telling them “COVID has come to change our lives”.

Prince Charles

The heir to the British throne said he “got away with it quite lightly” when he contracted coronavirus at the beginning of the UK’s epidemic in March.

The Prince of Wales, 71, self-isolated at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire after testing positive for the virus and only experienced mild symptoms.

He told Sky News: “I was lucky in my case… but I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through.”

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In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Prince Charles said he ‘got away with it quite lightly’

Michel Barnier

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, 69, contracted the virus early in the pandemic on 19 March.

He said: “For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together.”

EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier departs the Eurostar in London, Britain September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Image: Michel Barnier missed about a month of work after catching the illness

“To win this battle against we must think and act collectively. We can leave this crisis stronger than before,” he added.

He returned to his post just under a month later.

 Sky News

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