North America

Donald Trump wears mask in public for first time

US President Donald J. Trump wears a face mask as he arrives to visit with wounded military members and staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Source: AAP

US President Donald Trump has been seen in public for the first time wearing a mask during a visit to a military hospital.

US President Donald Trump has worn a mask during a visit to a military hospital, the first time he's been seen in public with the type of facial covering recommended by health officials as a precaution against spreading coronavirus.

Donald Trump flew by helicopter on Saturday to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in suburban Washington to meet wounded servicemembers and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients.

US President Donald Trump has up until now avoided wearing a mask in public even as the coronavirus pandemic spread.
US President Donald Trump has up until now avoided wearing a mask in public even as the coronavirus pandemic spread.
AAP

As he left the White House, he told reporters: "When you're in a hospital, especially ... I think it's expected to wear a mask".

Donald Trump was wearing a mask in Walter Reed's hallway as he began his visit. He was not wearing one when he stepped off the helicopter at the facility.

The president was a latecomer to wearing a mask during the pandemic, which has raged across the US since March and infected more than 3.2 million and killed at least 134,000.

Most prominent Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, endorsed wearing masks as the coronavirus gained ground this summer.

The wearing of masks became another political dividing line, with Republicans more resistant to wearing them than Democrats. Few masks were seen at recent Trump campaign events in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Phoenix and South Dakota's Mount Rushmore.

The only time Donald Trump has been known to wear a mask was during a private part of a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan.

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. People are also advised to wear masks in public.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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