White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (L) claps as US President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally at Hickory Regional Airport in Hickory, North Carolina on November 1, 2020
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows (L) claps as US President Donald Trump leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally at Hickory Regional Airport in Hickory, North Carolina on November 1, 2020
AFP

US President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, reports said on Friday (local time).

CNN reported that Meadows told people after the election that he had coronavirus, but it wasn't clear when he first tested positive. Meadows had traveled with Trump on last week and was also present at the White House election party on Tuesday.

Notably, Meadows had refused to keep his mask on while talking to reporters last month, saying he would not "talk through a mask".

As he stopped to talk to reporters at Capitol Hill just before the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Meadows said he would talk by pulling the microphone farther away. "I’m more than 10 feet away... that way I can take this off,” Meadows said as he took his mask off.

As a reporter asked him to keep the mask on, Meadows walked away and said, “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”

This had come soon after Donald Trump and first lady Melania tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump's positive report came just hours after his senior aide Hope Hicks was tested COVID-19 positive.

He was admitted to a military hospital for three nights and four days. He soon returned to White House and declared himself cured after he was treated with an experimental antibody drug cocktail.

Trump was briefly forced to pause his re-election campaign after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to trail in the presidential poll against his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

As per the latest projections, Biden has 264 electoral college votes and Trump trails behind with 213. Biden was leading in four of the five key battleground states where counting of ballots was still going on.

Trump was trailing behind Biden in Arizona (by 38,455 votes), Georgia (4,224), Nevada (22,657) and Pennsylvania (19,500) but leading in North Carolina with 76,587 votes.

To be declared the winner of the US election, either of the two candidates needs at least 270 of the 538 electoral college votes.

Biden also announced that he will introduce his plans to contain the COVID-19 pandemic on his first day in office.

(With agencies)

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