UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become the first world leader to test positive for the deadly coronavirus and is self-isolating in Downing Street.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had also tested positive while England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said he was going into self-isolation after displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
Boris Johnson announced his diagnosis in a video posted on social media, in which he said he would continue to lead the UK government’s efforts from self-isolation in an apartment in Downing Street.
Johnson and Hancock join a long list of government officials around the world who have been infected with the coronavirus. Johnson said his symptoms were mild and that he could continue working as usual.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
The announcements also come just over a week after a top government adviser on the virus, Neil Ferguson, said he believed he had been infected and warned: “There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster.”
Ferguson had met with the Prime Minister, as well as Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance. It was unclear, however, where Johnson may have contracted the virus.
Meanwhile, British health authorities announced another 181 fatalities on Friday, bringing the death toll to 759. More than 14,500 infections have been recorded, but as the UK is not testing widely, true infection numbers are likely to be much higher.