Johnson’s illness, at the height of Britain’s first wave of infections, complicated the government’s response, not least because the virus spread through the government’s ranks in Westminster.
Trump and his wife Melania, who has also tested positive for the virus, may be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms, as was the case with Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock.
At 74 years old and overweight, Trump — who has spent months playing down the severity of the pandemic as US deaths have surpassed 207,000 — falls into the highest risk category for serious complications from the disease. But the first lady, age 50, is likely to be at a lower risk of serious illness.
Disregard for masks, distancing
In Brazil, populist leader Bolsonaro, like Trump, spent months downplaying the threat from coronavirus, like Trump, dismissing it as just a “little flu” and assuring his compatriots they had little to fear.
The 65-year-old has similarly shown disdain for precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing, both before and since his positive test in early July.
Less than two weeks after testing positive, Bolsonaro took a walk in the grounds of his presidential palace and greeted a crowd of supporters, video broadcast live on his Facebook page showed.
While the Brazilian President wore a mask, he was closely flanked by a number of aides who did not appear to consistently maintain a significant social distance from him. He repeatedly lowered his mask while talking, including when aides were nearby.
Concern for Trump aides and Biden
It’s unclear how many staffers in the White House or senior Republican figures may have to isolate after coming into contact with Trump or those close to him.
The President had said late Thursday night that he planned to quarantine after one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the infection, bringing the disease into his innermost circle.
While the White House frequently touts its extensive testing regimen for the President and those who come into close proximity with him — aides have deemed him the “most tested man in the country” — the infections have underscored the shortcomings in relying on tests alone to prevent contagion.
In May, two White House staffers, including a member of the Navy who serves as one of Trump’s personal valets, tested positive for the virus, and in July a cafeteria employee on the White House grounds tested positive as well. The President confirmed a fourth positive case on White House grounds last month.
There will also be concern in Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s camp that he may have been exposed to the virus.
Putin’s caution did not prevent those around him from becoming infected. Peskov himself was hospitalized with Covid-19 in May. Prime Minister Mishustin was also hospitalized and Minister of Culture Olga Lyubimova and Minister of Housing Vladimir Yakushev tested positive for the virus.
In April, Peskov said that everyone meeting with the Russian President would be tested for coronavirus and that all such appointments would be held with social distancing in place.
Putin on Friday sent Trump a telegram to wish him and Melania a speedy recovery. “I am sure that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus,” the Russian President said, according to a Kremlin readout of the telegram.
The virus showed early on that it was no respecter of rank.
In Australia, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton also tested positive in March.