Boris Johnson may have to self-isolate if Alok Sharma tests positive for coronavirus

4 June 2020, 14:41

Boris Johnson may be required to self-isolate again if Alok Sharma tests positive for Covid-19
Boris Johnson may be required to self-isolate again if Alok Sharma tests positive for Covid-19. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson may have to self-isolate for two weeks under Test and Trace rules if Alok Sharma tests positive for coronavirus.

The Prime Minister held a 45 minute meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Mr Sharma.

But on Wednesday Mr Sharma became visibly ill and sweating while talking in the House of Commons. He was later told to self isolate.

He has been tested for Covid-19, but has not yet had the result back.

As a way of slowing the virus's spread, contact tracers with the NHS service are asking infected individuals who they have come into recent contact with.

Tracers will then decide whether it is necessary to tell those contacts to self-isolate for 14 days from their last contact with the individual, as a precaution

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said the Prime Minister will follow any medical advice which is given.

He said: "The meeting which took place in Number 10 in the Cabinet room was properly socially distanced.

"So they were all two metres apart. If the Secretary of State were to test positive for coronavirus, he will go through the Test and Trace process and follow the advice which they give to him.

If Mr Sharma does test positive, this would be the second time the Prime Minister is required to remain at home following his own battle with coronavirus in April.

Mr Johnson was ultimately hospitalised and spent some time in intensive care after his breathing deteriorated.

Mr Alok's poor health comes the government face criticism for making MPs return to the House of Commons in person, rather than continue with online voting as they have been during the pandemic.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak may also need to self-isolate
Chancellor Rishi Sunak may also need to self-isolate. Picture: PA
Mr Sharma is currently in self-isolation
Mr Sharma is currently in self-isolation. Picture: PA

MPs spent two hours queuing in and around the Houses of Parliament yesterday afternoon to ensure they adhered to social distancing rules.

They were voting on the motion to return to physical voting.

MPs on Thursday will debate a motion from Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to allow those who are shielding and those aged over 70 to vote by proxy, in a move Labour dubbed a "U-turn" and described as "chaotic".

Senior Conservatives, opposition groups and the equalities watchdog raised concerns the decision to end digital voting would prevent many representatives, particularly the elderly and vulnerable ones who are shielding, from being able to vote.

But Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis denied that Mr Sharma's case supported the argument for virtual voting in the Commons to be resumed.

"It is important for parliamentarians to be able to properly scrutinise legislation, not just for Covid but for the wider legislative agenda we have to continue with for people across the country, but to do so within proper guidelines," he said.

A House of Commons spokeswoman said "additional cleaning" had taken place following Mr Sharma's visit to the despatch box.

Labour shadow minister Toby Perkins said: "If there are now fears that he may have Covid-19 and he hadn't already tested negative, it was the height of irresponsibility for him to be in Parliament sniffling, sweating and snorting from the despatch box."

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