British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus, but remains in charge of the UK.’s response to the outbreak.
Johnson’s office said he was tested on the advice of the chief medical officer after showing mild symptoms.
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It said Johnson is self-isolating at his 10 Downing St. residence and continuing to lead the country’s response to COVID-19.
In a video message, Johnson said he had a temperature and a persistent cough.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/9Te6aFP0Ri
“Be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.”
It was not immediately clear how many Downing Street staff and senior ministers would now need to isolate given that many have had contact with Johnson over recent days and weeks.
When Britain clapped health workers on Thursday evening, Johnson and his finance minister Rishi Sunak came out of separate entrances on Downing Street and did not come into close contact, according to a Reuters photographer at the scene.
Previously the government has said that Johnson had the option to del agate to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab if needed.
“The prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty,” the spokesman said.
“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive,” the spokesman said.
So far, 578 people in the United Kingdom have died after testing positive for coronavirus and the number of confirmed cases has risen to 11,658. The UK toll is the seventh worst in the world, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the United States, according to a Reuters tally.
Earlier this week Britain’s Prince Charles announced that he had tested positive for the virus.