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Donald Trump could be discharged from hospital as soon as on Monday, doctors said, after a weekend of White House obfuscation about the president’s health.

Sean Conley, the White House physician, said the president “continued to improve” following his admission to Walter Reed hospital on Friday, but acknowledged that his oxygen levels had dropped twice, requiring supplementary oxygen once.

Dr Conley also revealed that Mr Trump received the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone to help him breathe.

The doctor’s initially rosy prognosis contradicted an off-the-record statement that called Mr Trump’s condition very “concerning”, and sowed confusion by suggesting he had been infected as early as Wednesday. Asia-Pacific stocks and US futures rose.

The virus has forced Mr Trump offstage and thrown his campaign into turmoil, with at least 10 people testing positive. Here’s a timeline of possible exposures last week, and what would happen if Mr Trump couldn’t run.

Kadhim Shubber looks at the historic secrecy around presidential illnesses, while Edward Luce writes that Mr Trump’s illness refocuses attention on his poor pandemic handling. The FT View is that the US election system can accommodate the shock. (FT, NYT, CNN)

Democratic challenger Joe Biden is nearly 8 points ahead in national polling, according to our poll tracker.

Coronavirus digest

After 1m deaths, are we getting any better at treating Covid-19? Follow our live coverage.

Chart showing new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Central Europe, seven-day rolling average of new cases (per million)

In the news

Exclusive: Former Chinese official inside TikTok Cai Zheng, who worked in China’s embassy in Tehran for four years according to a now-deleted LinkedIn profile, ran ByteDance’s global content policy team in Beijing until early this year, as the short-video app became a global sensation. (FT)

BlackRock faces climate criticism The world’s largest asset manager backed fewer environmental votes at annual meetings this year than last, despite chief executive Larry Fink’s warning in January that climate change represented a risk to markets unlike any previous crisis. (FT)

Casting for Brexit consensus EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will hold bilateral talks with the bloc’s key fishing states this week to break the deadlock with London. Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, and Boris Johnson agreed on Saturday to intensified negotiations on fishing and state aid. (FT)

Ms von der Leyen and Mr Johnson will hold more frequent calls as Mr Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost resume talks in London on Wednesday © Bloomberg

JPMorgan’s UK apprenticeships JPMorgan is hiring the UK’s first investment banking apprentices, applying on-the-job training methods previously reserved for vocations to its capital markets and dealmaking teams. The four-year programme includes funding for a degree in applied finance at the University of Exeter. (FT)

Patel promises ‘firm and fair’ asylum system The home secretary pledged to create a new UK asylum system following controversial leaked proposals to reduce illegal immigration. Separately, Charles Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph, has withdrawn his name from consideration to be the next BBC chair. (FT)

Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes Clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region intensified over the weekend as ethnic Armenian forces bombarded Azerbaijan’s second city, close to crucial oil and gas pipelines to Turkey. Armenia has objected to Turkey’s use of US-made F-16 fighter jets in the conflict. (FT, NYT)

Boohoo confrontation A prominent MP will on Monday demand Boohoo’s largest shareholders remove the retailer’s chief executive and chair over evidence of illegal conditions in its supply chain. TfL has refused to grant a new licence to Indian car-booking app Ola. (FT)

Business ethics guru accused Dov Seidman, author of a bestselling book on moral leadership, has been accused of cheating investors out of millions of dollars when he sold his business ethics consultancy LRN to a private equity firm in 2018. (FT)

Pope calls for capitalism reform Laying out his vision for a post-Covid-19 word on Sunday, Pope Francis said “magic theories” of market capitalism have failed and called for a new politics that emphasises dialogue and solidarity and rejects war. (AP)

Pope Francis started writing the encyclical, the third of his pontificate, before the pandemic struck © AFP via Getty Images

The day ahead

Essex lorry trial Defendants on trial in connection with the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants whose bodies were found in a truck are set to appear in a London court on Monday. (FT)

PMIs Purchasing managers’ indices including the JPMorgan Global PMI and data from the eurozone, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US will offer a test of economic sentiment. (FT)

Nobel Prizes This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be announced on Monday from 11.30am (CET, 10.30am UK time). Here is the schedule for the other prizes this week. (Nobel)

New Supreme Court term The US Supreme Court’s new term starts on Monday with the confirmation of Mr Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in question as Covid-19 spreads among Republicans. Justices will hear a copyright battle between Google and Oracle, among other cases. (Atlantic, WSJ)

Culture Call, the FT’s Life & Arts podcast, returns for a third season on Friday, October 9, with a new array of conversations with creators and thinkers based around the question: what’s possible now?

What else we’re reading

A new Cold War Once again, the US is facing a rival superpower, military tensions are taking shape and a conflict is being framed between the free world and a dictatorship. In the first of a new FT series, Gideon Rachman explores how deteriorating US-China relations feel eerily familiar. (FT)

Then: Truman vs Stalin. Now: Trump vs Xi © FT montage; Getty.

The dangers of instant experts Donald Trump’s health and political future may be in the hands of the health experts he regularly disparaged, Andrew Hill writes. Covid-19 has a hard business lesson, writes Pilita Clark: once you learn that you can do something cheaper, faster and better at home, why would you go back? (FT)

ECB consensus frays Christine Lagarde has promised to bring her “own style” to the European Central Bank. But her consensus-driven decision-making may be fraying as the central bank steers the eurozone from a historic recession to recovery. (FT)

Christine Lagarde has taken a more collegial approach to her role as ECB president than her predecessor Mario Draghi © Financial Times

Save the planet — and make money Catastrophic climate change is humanity’s biggest challenge. It may also represent the most spectacular investment opportunity of our lifetimes, writes John Thornhill. (FT)

Samsung mounts 5G offensive Samsung Electronics may be finally poised to make meaningful inroads in 5G, where it has long lagged behind global peers, thanks to rollouts across the world and campaigns by US allies to block Huawei. (FT)

Samsung challenges industry leaders in 5G

EU’s ‘squalid’ new migrant ‘pact’ Governments need to share responsibility for asylum seekers beyond merely ejecting the unwanted, Tony Barber argues. The Uighurs who have fled China’s repression are forced to save their culture from afar. (FT, Atlantic)

Alone at the top Tidjane Thiam made Credit Suisse profitable again. But the Swiss establishment rejected him as an outsider and a scandal led to his abrupt ousting. Here’s an inside look at how banking’s top tier lost its sole black chief executive. (NYT)

Video of the day

Why investors fear the US election US finance editor Robert Armstrong looks at expectations for market volatility around the 2020 election amid anxieties over a contested result. (FT)

Video: Why investors fear the US electionVideo: Why investors fear the US election

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