Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

27 March 2020, 11:16

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19 and will self isolate in Number 10.

The Prime Minister tweeted on Friday morning: "Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus."

Mr Johnson will now self-isolate in Downing Street but he will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference.

It also emerged today that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had tested positive for the virus. In a video message he said that he would be self-isolating until next Thursday.

LATEST: Health Secretary Matt Hancock tests positive for coronavirus

Mr Johnson, 55, posted a video on Twitter to say that people should "be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus".

It is not known whether he is staying with his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is several months pregnant.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty.

"The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive.

"In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.

"He is continuing to lead the government's response to coronavirus."

Currently, in the UK there are 11,658 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections with 578 deaths.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the Queen last saw the Prime Minister on 11 March and is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare and "remains in good health"

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

Should Boris Johnson be unable to continue to carry out the duties of Prime Minister then Dominic Raab would take over.

A Downing Street spokesperson said previously: “The prime minister has the power to delegate responsibility to any of his ministers but, for now, it’s the prime minister and then the foreign secretary,” they said.

LBC Westminster Correspondent Ben Kentish said the Prime Minister chaired Friday's Covid-19 meeting via video conference.

Due to his status as being confirmed as infected with coronavirus he is unable to attend the daily coronavirus press conference.

Downing Street suggested that the PM's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds is not living with Mr Johnson in Downing Street at present.

Asked whether Ms Symonds is also living in their flat above Number 11, the PM's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister of course follows all of the guidelines which have been issued by Public Health England in full.

"His circumstance is such that he will be required to self-isolate for seven days."

The spokesman said meals and work would be left at the door of the Prime Minister's flat.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Mr Johnson noticed that he had mild symptoms on Thursday afternoon and received the test results at midnight.

He told a Westminster briefing that the PM dialled into the daily morning "war cabinet" meeting from Number 11, and will continue to do so while he is self-isolating.

"He will do the same things but that will be done exclusively via teleconferencing on his part," the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson will not appear at Friday's press conference, however.

The spokesman said Mr Johnson was self-isolating in his flat above Number 11 Downing Street.

"Number 11 in its entirety will serve as the Prime Minister's office and his home - he lives above Number 11 in the flat.

"The doors between Number 10 and Number 11 have been closed off to all other staff who work in the building.

"The PM will work from the office and the study in Number 11, which has been kindly vacated by the Chancellor.

"Full video conferencing facilities have been installed in those downstairs rooms in Number 11.

"All Number 10 staff will observe Public Health England guidelines on contact with the PM and will, of course, remain two metres apart from him at all times if they were to have any contact."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn used Twitter to wish the Prime Minister well.

Prime Minister's speech

In his speech Boris Johnson said:

Hi Folks

I want to bring you up to speed on something that’s happening today which is that I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus. That’s to say - a temperature and a persistent cough.

And, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, I’ve taken a test. That has come out positive.

So I am working from home. I’m self-isolating. And that’s entirely the right thing to do.

But be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.

And I want to thank everybody who’s involved, I want to thank, above all, our amazing NHS staff. It was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the NHS.

But it’s not just the NHS, it’s our police, our social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools, DWP staff.

An amazing national effort by the public services. But also by every member of the British public who’s volunteering, an incredible response – 600,000 people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus - I want to thank you.

I want to thank everybody who’s working to keep our country going through this epidemic.

And we will get through it.

And the way we’re going to get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you’ll have heard so much about.

And the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back.

So thank you to everybody who’s doing what I’m doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household.

That’s the way we’re going to win, we’re going to beat it, and we’re going to beat it together.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.