US election 2020: Trump back on campaign trail in Florida

President Donald Trump has returned to the campaign trail less than two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus.

He told thousands of supporters, many not wearing masks, that he could give them “a big fat kiss”, at a rally in the battleground state of Florida.

His rival, Joe Biden, speaking in Ohio, accused the president of “reckless behaviour” since his diagnosis.

The two presidential candidates are scrambling to secure votes with three weeks until the 3 November election.

Opinion polls suggests Mr Biden has a 10-point lead over Mr Trump nationally. However his lead in some key states is narrower – as is the case in Florida, where the Democrat is 3.7 points ahead, according to an average of polls collated by Real Clear Politics.

Battlegrounds like Florida and Ohio are crucial for gathering the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the White House, which is not determined by a simple popular ballot count.

Mr Trump, 74, tested positive for Covid-19 some 11 days ago, and was admitted to hospital a day later.

But on Sunday his personal doctor said he was no longer a Covid transmission risk to others and disclosed on Monday that his most recent tests were negative over consecutive days, although he did not give the dates.

At the scene – Nomia Iqbal, BBC News, Sanford, Florida

The usual chants of “Four more years!” were heard as hundreds queued to enter the open air space where the president made his appearance.

People have been getting their temperature checked and were offered face masks. Those who covered up didn’t think it was too soon for the president to be out and about. They said they admired him for it. One man here told me he was originally from New York and had made Florida his home – just like “his hero” Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign team is throwing everything at Florida – a loss here makes his return to the White House near impossible.

Vice-President Mike Pence recently visited “The Villages” a famous retirement home to turn out the elderly vote.

But though the president and some of his supporters here seem relaxed about coronavirus, it has hit Florida hard, with more than 15,000 deaths.

Joe Biden, who arrives in the state on Tuesday, is focusing on the administration’s handling of the pandemic and plan to carry out a quieter but vigorous campaign in key suburban areas which they hope will help flip the state blue.

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