Labour MP speaks out on self-isolating after attending summit with coronavirus patient

14 February 2020, 20:29 | Updated: 14 February 2020, 20:55

Alex Sobel speaks out after attending summit with coronavirus patient
Alex Sobel speaks out after attending summit with coronavirus patient. Picture: PA

Alex Sobel spoke to LBC after becoming one of two Labour MPs who are self-isolation after attending the same conference as a woman who tested positive for coronavirus.

The unnamed patient, who is understood to be a Chinese citizen who travelled from China recently, became the ninth case of the virus - officially known as Covid-19 - to be diagnosed in the UK.

She attended the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on February 6 along with more than 250 other individuals.

Mr Sobel, MP for Leeds North West, told Andrew Pierce today that he was self-isolating as a precaution and confirmed that he does not have any symptoms.

During a phone interview, he said: "I was at the event eight days ago. And then this morning a journalist tweeted there were some MPs at the event and then rang my office.

"We contacted the organizers, the organizers couldn't confirm or deny whether I've been in contact with the person that developed coronavirus."

He added: "In that scenario, it is best to just take some sensible precautions."

Mr Sobel said he had had to cancel his constituency surgeries this weekend and has cancelled all public engagements until next Thursday.

Andrew asked: "How do you think the authorities, Public Health England, are coping with the coronavirus outbreak?"

Alex Sobel MP is being tested for Coronavirus.
Alex Sobel MP is being tested for Coronavirus. Picture: Press Assocation

He said: "It's a very early stage in the UK for the coronavirus. But I do think that governments need more resources into public health.

"They need to be looking at things like having an app because, you know, as we've seen in China it has spread quite quickly, quite rapidly.

"And it's the same thing happening in the UK. You know, it's important that people are aware they've been in contact with some new coronavirus and, and I don't think, as my example shows, that all the necessary work has been done and that all the necessary measures are in place."

Mr Sobel told Andrew that his wife has ordered him to "strip the wallpapers" in order to pass the time.

Meanwhile, Labour MP for Nottingham South, Lilian Greenwood, who also spoke at the summit, tweeted that she was also self-isolating.