British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19 infection, experiencing mild symptoms. He will self-isolate in Downing Street but will remain in charge of the government.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson said. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.”
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.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Johnson, 55, reportedly began experiencing mild symptoms on Thursday and was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty.
It was not immediately clear when he was tested but various members of his staff had been working elsewhere when the news first emerged that he had contracted the illness.
The British leader had spoken in a press conference about shaking hands with “everybody” during a visit to a hospital that was treating people suffering from the disease, which has killed over 24,000 people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Boris Johnson boasting about shaking hands with coronavirus patients. You could not make it up. Britain is about to learn the hard way this is not the man to lead us in a crisis.pic.twitter.com/mgg8TL8zKh
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 3, 2020
Reports in UK media indicate that health secretary Matt Hancock will have to enter self-isolation because he spent time with Johnson while he was infectious.
For the time being, Johnson will continue to carry out his duties, but Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominc Raab may be asked to step in should the prime minister’s condition worsen. Were he to step in, Raab’s official title would be Understudy to the Prime Minister.
The latest figures show that the UK has over 11,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection which has, so far, resulted in the deaths of 578 people.
The news of the prime minister’s illness comes amid claims that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is facing a “continuous tsunami” of infection and may soon collapse. The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said Intensive Care Units across the country are filling up and staff absences due to illness are mounting.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.