US President Donald Trump has said he feels “much better” amid conflicting reports over his condition after being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
The president’s medical team said he was doing “very well” and was in “exceptionally good spirits” in an update on Saturday, less than 24 hours after he was taken by helicopter to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre near Washington DC.
However, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows briefed reporters soon afterwards and said Mr Trump went through a “very concerning” period on Friday and that the next 48 hours would be critical.
The president himself then posted a video on Twitter from his hospital suite, saying he was feeling “much better now” and hoped to “be back soon”.
Dr Conley refused to say whether Mr Trump had ever been on oxygen despite repeated questioning, but said the president’s symptoms, including a cough and nasal congestion, “are now resolving and improving”.
A source familiar with Mr Trump’s condition told the Associated Press the president was administered supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to hospital.
Dr Conley’s optimistic appraisal contrasted the subsequent assessment delivered by Mr Meadows, although Mr Trump himself said in his video message he was feeling better, although the “next few days” would be telling in his battle against the disease.
“You don’t know over the next period of a few days, I guess that’s the real test. So we’ll be seeing what happens over those next couple of days.”
There was also confusion over when the president tested positive, as Dr Conley initially suggested Mr Trump was 72 hours into the diagnosis.
Dr Conley later clarified he meant to say “day three” instead of 72 hours, and said the president had been first diagnosed with Covid-19 on Thursday evening.
Soon after Dr Conley’s update on Saturday, Mr Trump tweeted: “Doctors, Nurses and ALL at the GREAT Walter Reed Medical Center, and others from likewise incredible institutions who have joined them, are AMAZING!!! Tremendous progress has been made over the last 6 months in fighting this PLAGUE. With their help, I am feeling well!”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was sure the president would “come through” his treatment “very well”.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, Mr Johnson said he rang the White House on Friday night and added: “I think obviously everybody’s wishing him and Melania the very best and hoping that they recover speedily and I’ve no doubt that he will, he’ll make a very strong recovery.”
When asked if he had any advice for Mr Trump, Mr Johnson added: “I think that he will be doing exactly what the doctors tell him to do and I’m sure he will be having the best care he can possibly get.”
Mr Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis is the latest among world leaders, with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also having fallen ill.
Meanwhile in the UK, almost 13,000 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed – but the Government said a technical glitch had led to an under-reporting of figures this week.
The Government said that, as of 9am on Saturday, there had been a further 12,872 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus – almost double the previous day, when a further 6,968 lab-confirmed cases were reported.
The official dashboard said on Saturday that due to a technical issue, now resolved, there had been a delay in publishing a number of cases.
This means the total reported over the coming days will include some additional cases from the period between September 24 and October 1.
Experts have previously warned describing the daily figure as a record could be misleading as it is not clear how many people were actually infected during the height of the first wave due to a lack of community testing at the time.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Johnson of having “lost control” of the fight against the virus and having no clear strategy.
Sir Keir said the PM should produce a new “road map” for navigating the country through the winter, including investing in NHS labs and university labs to expand testing, ensuring routine regular testing for all high-risk workplaces and high transmission areas, and a programme to ensure the manufacture and distribution of any vaccine.
Speaking to The Observer, he said: “The prime minister is governing in hindsight. So he charges forward, not recognising the problem, has a car crash, looks in the rear mirror and says ‘what’s all that about?’”
Meanwhile, Number 10 has vowed the Prime Minister will “not be blown off course” by the coronavirus pandemic from delivering his manifesto commitments.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has written to his Cabinet colleagues calling for “bold and ambitious” bills for the next Queen’s Speech, Downing Street said.