PM and health secretary test positive for coronavirus: LBC explains No 10's next steps

27 March 2020, 13:15

By Fiona Jones

After the Prime Minister and the health secretary have tested positive for coronavirus, LBC's Westminster reporter Ben Kentish explained the next steps Number 10 will be taking.

Boris Johnson developed a cough and a fever yesterday afternoon and was tested in Downing Street on chief medical officer Chris Whitty's recommendation, according to a No 10 spokesperson.

Reporter Ben Kentish was told by the spokesperson that between the hours of getting the symptoms and the positive result Mr Johnson was not in contact with anyone.

"He is now holed up in Number 11 where his flat is," Ben said, which is also where Chancellor Rishi Sunak's office is meaning he has "effectively kicked Rishi Sunak out."

Ben shared that all the doors between Number 10 and 11 have been sealed off to fully isolate the Prime Minister.

He is still working and chaired the daily morning Covid-19 meeting via video but will of course be unable to do the daily coronavirus press briefing. In his place Ben predicted it may be health secretary Matt Hancock, however he has now been tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Johnson's spokesperson said that of course he's had a lot of contact with the top of government, having done PMQs on Wednesday, but there are no plans to test any Cabinet members he came into contact with or do contact tracing unless people develop symptoms.

James was surprised: "I suppose if they were to do the testing they probably should do everybody would start shouting about the fact that they're not extending that offer to the rest of the country."

Ben agreed that this was likely the reason they are not testing everyone he came into contact with; they don't want to send the message that Downing Street is different to the rest of the country, who must continue following government advice.

Due to the lack of coronavirus tests it would send a terrible political message if NHS workers can't get tests but Boris Johnson's staff can, he said.

The No 10 spokesperson did say that while Boris Johnson has been in contact with members of the Cabinet, Downing Street have been implementing social distancing regulations.

The spokesperson declined to say whether Mr Johnson's pregnant partner Carrie Symonds is in isolation with him.

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