Coronavirus: Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19

March 27, 2020

Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.

The prime minister, 55, tweeted a video message confirming he has COVID-19, writing: "Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.

"I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."

He added: "Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives."

Downing Street said Mr Johnson had been tested on the advice of his chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty, having been experiencing "mild symptoms" on Thursday.

"The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive," a statement confirmed.

"In keeping with the guidance, the prime minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.

"He is continuing to lead the government's response to coronavirus."

Number 10 also said Mr Johnson is isolating for seven days and meals will be left outside his door while he self-isolates.

Mr Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds is pregnant, was last seen outside Number 10 on Thursday night, joining Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a nationwide applause for NHS workers as they battle the pandemic.

A Treasury source said Mr Sunak is not self-isolating because he doesn't have any symptoms, but other people in the prime minister's office are.

Mr Johnson also appeared at PMQs as normal on Wednesday, sitting in a gap between his Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chief Whip Mark Spencer with a gap.

And all of this week he has been chairing the daily "war cabinet" on Britain's COVID-19 emergency response, involving some face-to-face meetings with those at the heart of managing the health, economic and communication response to the crisis.

But Mr Johnson has appeared over videolink for two important calls - with cabinet ministers and other leaders of the G20 countries.

He also did not travel to Buckingham Palace for his weekly private meeting with the Queen on Wednesday - instead calling her on the phone. The pair last met on 11 March.

Mr Johnson's senior adviser Dominic Cummings was seen running out of Downing Street after the news broke.

Back on 3 March, the prime minister revealed in a news conference he shook hands with COVID-19 patients.

"I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you'll be pleased to know," he said.

Sam Coates, Sky News' deputy political editor, said: "This is an enormous challenge for the centre of government today.

"There will be a lot of concern that a large number of people in No 10 might have been exposed and might not have to be tested."

Mr Johnson's spokesman said a few days ago that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would stand in if he becomes incapacitated.

But they confirmed on Friday Mr Raab is not taking over any functions from the prime minister yet.

Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, wished Mr Johnson a speedy recovery.

"This sadly shows nobody is immune," he said. "Everybody must follow the advise on social distancing, non-essential work must not take place. We need to take all measures to isolate if need be."

Fears grew about how far COVID-19 spread at the heart of government after health minister Nadine Dorries tested positive for the virus earlier in March.

She has since recovered and was clapped by MPs when she returned to the Commons on Wednesday to hear the health secretary make a statement.

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