POTUS, FLOTUS pay price for downplaying virus
PIC: AFP

News of the infection of the most powerful man in the world with the most notorious disease in the world drew instant reactions of shock, sympathy, undisguised glee and, of course, the ever-present outrage and curiosity that follow much of what Donald Trump does, even from 10,000 miles away.

Trump's announcement, on Twitter, on Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus, and the deep uncertainty that accompanied it, permeated the global news cycle, upending countless plans and sparking comment everywhere from presidential offices to the thousands looking to weigh in on social media.

The positive test result for Trump and his wife was the most searched topic in China - after news about the holiday - on the widely used social media app Weibo a few hours after the announcement, with most comments mocking or critical.

One user darkly joked that Trump had finally tweeted something positive.

Social media platforms in Asia were ablaze with quick reaction.

Would Trump blame the Chinese? Would he thumb his nose at his critics and enemies by breezing through the quarantine without serious symptoms, tweeting away from the White House? Would he become gravely ill, or worse, and, if he did, what would that mean for the U.S. election, one of the most contentious in recent history?

"Here comes a chance for him to actually try out his idea of injecting disinfectant into himself and fighting back (against allegations that) it was fake news!" tweeted Hiroyuki Nishimura, a Japanese internet entrepreneur, referring to an idea Trump floated earlier this year for treatment.

On Twitter, there were a few who reacted with memes and jokes as Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

"That's a nice way to save you a** from next debate," a Twitter user said. "So NOOOOOOOOOOOOW will you please take it seriously?????? This is NOT a joke," wrote another Twitter user.

But... Now what? Vice President Mike Pence could take charge if needed

President Donald Trump could potentially be forced to relinquish executive control to Vice President Mike Pence or be replaced on the GOP ticket altogether, if he becomes incapacitated from COVID-19, reports the Daily Mail.

With the presidential election less than 32 days away, the positive result means the government may have to consider contingency plans in line with the Constitution should Trump become too ill to go through with the race.

According to Daily Mail, the 25th Amendment states that the vice president can replace the commander-in-chief temporarily in the event that Trump is incapacitated.

If the VP is also unable to assume control, the powers are then delegated to the Speaker of the House, in this case, Nancy Pelosi.

However, the looming election further complicates the matter, as the Democratic and Republican national committees could also pick a replacement to run on their party's ticket if the nominee were to withdraw.

“Get well soon”: World leaders

World leaders wished a speedy recovery to US President Donald Trump who tested positive for COVID-19.

"The Secretary-General sends his best wishes to President Trump and first lady Melania Trump for a quick and complete recovery," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: "I am certain that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with this dangerous virus," reports the Independent newspaper.

UK PM Boris Johnson tweeted Friday morning: "My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus."

"I wish President Donald Trump @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and First Lady Melania Trump @FLOTUS a speedy recovery. Our prayers and best wishes are with you during this time," President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted.

Meanwhile, Taking to Twitter, PM Modi wrote: "Wishing my friend @POTUS @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUSa quick recovery and good health."

Similarly, In a tweet, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wished the couple “a full and speedy recovery”.

German Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert tweeted on her behalf “I send Donald and Melania Trump all my good wishes,” .

“I hope that they recover well from their corona infection and will be quite healthy again soon.”

Biden, wife test negative

Joe Biden has tested negative for the coronavirus, his primary care doctor confirmed on Friday. The Democratic presidential nominee and his wife were tested earlier in the day after news of President Donald Trump's infection was announced.

Dr. Kevin O'Connor released the negative results in a statement issued by the Biden campaign.

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