Trump Covid diagnosis shortens Mike Pompeo's Asia trip

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, will cut short his trip to east Asia following the hospitalisation of Donald Trump with Covid-19.

Pompeo would leave for Japan on Sunday but would not go to Mongolia and South Korea as originally planned, the State Department said.

Pompeo was meant to visit all three countries from 4-8 October. He is still set to leave for Tokyo on Sunday but will be returning to Washington on 6 October after consultations with his Japanese counterparts and a wider meeting with foreign ministers of India and Australia.

Trump announced his illness in the early hours of Friday and was flown from the White House to Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington. In a video from the hospital on Saturday he said he felt “much better” but the next few days will be “the real test”.

In a video speech to the Florida Family Policy Council, Pompeo said he was in good health but that had cancelled his in-person appearance at the event “out of an abundance of caution”. He still planned to go to Asia.

“You should know that I’m feeling fine, I’m doing great. I’ve been tested twice in two days. I’m as healthy as I’ve been. And I intend still – I have a trip that I’m planning to take to Asia tomorrow,” he said.

The State Department said Pompeo was expecting to travel to Asia again in October and would work to reschedule the visits in his original itinerary.

Pompeo’s visit to east Asia, his first to the region in over a year, comes at a time when US ties with Beijing are at their worst in decades. Apart from Trump, the coronavirus has infected the first lady, Melania, and several Republican senators, as well as millions of other Americans.

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