Nadine Dorries becomes first MP to be diagnosed with coronavirus

10 March 2020, 22:31

Nadine Dorries (c) has become the first MP to have coronavirus
Nadine Dorries (c) has become the first MP to have coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Health minster Nadine Dorries has confirmed she is the first MP to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

According to The Times, Ms Dorries has met with hundreds of people in the past week and attended an event in Number 10 with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Taking to social media, Ms Dorries said she was "over the worst" of the illness, but said she was concerned for the welfare of her 84-year-old mother who was showing signs of Covid-19.

She said: "Thanks for so many good wishes. It’s been pretty rubbish but I hope I’m over the worst of it now. More worried about my 84yo mum who is staying with me and began with the cough today.

"She is being tested tomorrow. Keep safe and keep washing those hands, everyone."

Ms Dorries pictured with Boris Johnson. The pair attended an event together this week
Ms Dorries pictured with Boris Johnson. The pair attended an event together this week. Picture: PA

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is understood to have fallen ill on Friday last week, and is now in isolation and recovering.

The newspaper reports she displayed "classic symptoms" of the disease this evening - a dry cough, high fever and "vice-like" pains in her check.

She received her positive test result this evening.

Ms Dorries, 62, said in a statement she followed the advice of Public Health England to self-isolate and has remained at home

She added: "Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice."

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Shortly after the news was made public, Health Secretary Matt Hancock took to Twitter to wish her a speedy recovery.

He said: "Really sorry to hear Nadine has tested positive for coronavirus.

"She has done the right thing by self isolating at home, and both NHS and PHE staff have been brilliant. We all wish her well as she recovers.

"I understand why people are worried about this disease. We will do all we can to keep people safe, based on the best possible science."

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Ms Dorries, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, has been one of the MPs to draft legislation to tackle the spread of the virus in the UK.

Officials are now contacting all people she may have been in contact with, which are feared to include a number of MPs and senior government officials.

London Mayoral candidate Rory Stewart warned that the news indicated the UK needed to ramp up efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

He tweeted: "This disease spreads very quickly and easily. Very few people are ready for how large this epidemic will be in the UK in a few days’ time.

"We need to take costly, unpopular actions - stopping gatherings, sending children and adults to their homes. Now. Not in ten days’ time."

Ms Dorries
Ms Dorries, who represents Mid Bedfordshire, has been one of the MPs to draft legislation to tackle the spread of the virus in the UK. Picture: PA

It is currently unknown what effect Ms Dorries' diagnosis will have on the rest of Parliament, or if the Commons will need to close for cleaning to reduce the risk of other MPs contracting the virus.

On Wednesday, the Commons will come together for the annual budget - the first to be delivered by Rishi Sunak since he became Chancellor.

Last week, it was reported parliament could be suspended for up to five months to stop the risk of MPs spreading the virus by travelling from London to their constituencies.

But the action was decided against by Parliamentary authorities, with a review of the decision set to happen early next week.

Ms Dorries is now one of at least 373 people who have tested positive for the virus in the UK.

So far, six have died.

Worldwide, almost 110,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus, and almost 4,000 have died.

The latest UK death was confirmed to be an elderly man in his eighties who had underlying health problems.

In Italy, where 463 people have died and over 7,300 infected, the government has taken the measure of placing the entire nation under lockdown.

Britshave been advised against "all but essential travel" to the European nation.

Until now, the lockdown had only covered the Lombardy region and 14 provinces in neighbouring regions, but has now been extended to the whole country.

The Foreign Office issued a statement saying anyone who returns to the UK from Italy should immediately go into self-isolation.

A spokesperson said: "We have amended our travel advice to recommend against all but essential travel to Italy."The safety of British nationals is always our number one priority.

"The advice is that anyone who arrives from Italy subsequent to Italian government decision should now self-isolate for 14 days."