POLITICS

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive For Coronavirus

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also tested positive. Both leaders said they have mild symptoms.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both said they have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a video that Johnson shared on social media Friday morning, he revealed he had “developed mild symptoms” of COVID-19 ― a temperature and a persistent cough ― and had “taken a test that has come out positive.”

Johnson said he was isolating himself at the prime minister’s official residence in Downing Street, London, which was “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,” added Johnson, who was seated and wearing a tie and suit jacket as he spoke.

Hancock ― who alongside Johnson has been a prominent figure in the government’s response to the pandemic ― announced his diagnosis via a video on social media. He said he would be self-isolating and working from home until Thursday.

“The symptoms so far have been very mild so I’ve been able to carry on with the work, driving forward the UK response,” Hancock said.

Downing Street said earlier this week that British Foreign Secretary Dominic Rabb would lead the government if Johnson contracted the virus and became too sick to fulfill his duties.

It was unclear whether Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds, who is several months pregnant, is remaining in the official residence with Johnson.

Johnson and his government have been criticized for their initial handling of the public health crisis, facing accusations that they were not taking the threat seriously.

On March 3, Johnson boasted about shaking hands with everybody during a visit to a hospital in which “there were a few coronavirus patients.”

As the number of cases in the U.K. and world continued to rise, however, Johnson struck a more somber tone, describing the pandemic as “the worst public health crisis in a generation.”

Following mounting pressure, Johnson on Monday finally ordered a nationwide three-week lockdown.

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said in a broadcast on the BBC.

“If you don’t follow the rules, the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings,” Johnson warned. “The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.”

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus earlier this week. Following Charles’ diagnosis, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II “remains in good health.”

Palace sources said the queen last saw Johnson on March 11. The queen on Wednesday conducted her weekly audience with Johnson via telephone:

The U.K. has confirmed nearly 12,000 cases of COVID-19 and 580 deaths.

 

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