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Matt Hancock tells LBC Boris Johnson is 'firing on all cylinders' despite self-isolating
16 November 2020, 07:59 | Updated: 16 November 2020, 08:17
The Prime Minister is "firing on all cylinders" despite being told to self-isolate by Test and Trace, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told LBC.
Boris Johnson was told to self-isolate after an MP who he had a meeting with, Lee Anderson later tested positive for Covid-19.
But the Health Secretary told LBC's Nick Ferrari the Prime Minister will continue to work but will carry out more meetings via Zoom over the next couple of weeks.
Mr Hancock said: "He's going to be firing on all cylinders this week, I can tell that.
"I haven't spoken to him directly, he's also posted, and I know that anyway, probably the majority of the times I see him, I see him on Zoom anyway, on video conference.
Hi folks, I’ve been instructed by our NHS Test & Trace scheme to self-isolate for two weeks, after being in contact with someone with Covid-19.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 16, 2020
I’m in good health and have no symptoms, and will continue to lead on our response to the virus & our plans to #BuildBackBetter pic.twitter.com/yNgIme8lOz
"It's just more effective that way anyway, but he'll be having to do more of that over the next couple of weeks."
In a video posted on Twitter on Monday morning, Mr Johnson said he was "fit as a butcher's dog" and praised the work of contact tracers who he said are "working ever-more efficiently".
"The bad news is that they've pinged me and I've got to self isolate because someone I was in contact with a few days ago has developed Covid," he said.
"It doesn't matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn't matter that I'm fit as a butcher's dog, feel great - so many people do in my circumstances."
Announcing the news, a No10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has today been notified by NHS Test and Trace that he is required to self-isolate as a contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
"The Prime Minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.
"He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19."
The news will have come as a blow to Mr Johnson, who is hoping to bounce back following the rocky departure of key allies Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain last week.
He plans to reset the Government with a “series of critical announcements” over the next couple of weeks, but it is now unclear how many of those events will be able to go ahead with the PM stuck indoors.
Mr Johnson had been due to meet Conservative MPs from the newly-formed Northern Research Group (NRG) on Monday, who are lobbying the Government to refocus its efforts to "level up" their constituencies, but it now unclear whether it will go ahead.
Self-isolation means he will not take part in PMQs this week either, making it harder for the PM to champion his renewed agenda.