President Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden will hold rival town hall-style debates on television on Thursday night US time (Friday morning AEST).

The two were originally meant to have held their second debate on Thursday evening however plans were thrown into chaos after President Trump contracted COVID-19 and went to hospital.

The US Commission on Presidential debates opted to host a virtual event for the second debate in what was supposed to be a series of three "for the health and safety of all involved".

However Mr Trump refused and the event was cancelled and "each now has alternate plans for that date", the Commission said. The third and final presidential debate will be held on October 22.

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On Thursday night, Mr Biden will hold a town hall style meeting aired by ABC, while Mr Trump's version will feature on NBC.

The NBC version will feature a conversation between Mr Trump and a group of Florida voters moderated by Savannah Guthrie.

The network said it would be held outside, with social distancing in place and the audience will be required to wear masks, with every staffer on site tested for the virus.

The station said it had also been assured by Dr. Clifford Lane, Clinical Director at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr Anthony Fauci, who said they have analysed Mr Trump's medical data and found he is "not shedding infectious virus."

The ABC event featuring Mr Biden will be hosted by anchor George Stephanopoulos and take place in Philadelphia.

The first debate took place on 29 September just days before the President tested positive for COVID-19.

The two men constantly interrupted one another in the cantankerous exchange that led the Commission to change the rules to allow for a "more orderly discussion of the issues".






Originally published as Trump, Biden to hold unique showdown