Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Boris Johnson jokes about being 'under house arrest' as he continues to self-isolate
21 November 2020, 09:25
Boris Johnson has joked about how coronavirus has "achieved what so many of my political foes have wanted to achieve for many years - put me under house arrest" after he was forced to self-isolate by Test and Trace.
The Prime Minister has been self-isolating since November 15 after he had a meeting lasting about 35 minutes with MPs in Number 10 on November 12, including Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, who then tested positive for Covid-19.
Ten Tory MPs were forced to self-isolate following the meeting but the Prime Minister has since tested negative.
On Saturday, the PM posted a clip to Twitter in which he thanked others self-isolating for their "incredibly important" help in tackling the virus and said "that is how we are going to break the chain of transmission."
In the clip, Mr Johnson said: "Hi folks, it's Boris Johnson here, and I just want to reach out to everybody who is, like me, forced to self-isolate.
Hi folks, quick update from me. Still self-isolating and working from my office in Downing St, leading on our response to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/jtgLwVCUaU— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 21, 2020
"It's now I think about the fifth or sixth day since I've been put into isolation and NHS Test and Trace, which is getting ever better, has achieved what so many of my political foes have wanted to achieve for many years - put me under house arrest.
"I know how frustrating it can be so I just want to say to everybody else who is in my shoes, don't forget that of course the isolation doesn't necessarily apply to the people you share your home with, your partner can still go out shopping or whatever.
"Your housemates can still go out to exercise, but you've got to make sure that you continue to observe social distancing from them.
"Your kids can obviously continue to go to school, but you've got to make sure that you observe social distancing from them and follow the basics - Hands, Face, Space.
"Bear in mind that what you're doing is incredibly important because that is how we are going to break the chain of transmission, stop the disease, get the R down as I believe we are doing at the moment and get it under control.
"So thank you very much everybody for what you are doing and if you are finding it a strain, and you do feel under mental pressure because of what's going on, then get onto the web and look at Every Mind Matters. Thanks a lot."
The Prime Minister's comments came after Matt Hancock confirmed the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will begin to be rolled out next month if it is approved for widespread use.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Friday, the Health Secretary said the "bulk" of the vaccines will be administered in the new year.
He added that the Government has formally asked the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to assess the Pfizer vaccine for suitability.
"This is another important step forward in tackling this pandemic," he said, adding that the speed of the roll-out of a vaccine would depend on the speed it could be manufactured.
"If the regulator approves a vaccine we will be ready to start the vaccination next month with the bulk of roll-out in the new year.
"We are heading in the right direction but there is still a long way to go."
It was also revealed that the UK will be the first country to begin clinical trials of a new coronavirus antibody treatment developed by drugs giant AstraZeneca aimed at people with a weakened immune system who cannot be vaccinated.
A participant in Manchester will be the first in the world to receive the pharmaceutical company's new "antibody cocktail" as part of the trial to test whether it will prevent Covid-19 for up to year.
The clinical trial programme will recruit 5,000 participants, which includes 1,000 people from nine sites in the UK.
The aim of the trial is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies - man-made proteins that act like natural human antibodies in the immune system.