British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating at his Downing Street residence but said he would still lead the government’s response to the accelerating outbreak.
Johnson, 55, experienced mild symptoms on Thursday, a day after he answered at the prime minister’s weekly question-and-answer session in parliament’s House of Commons chamber, and received the positive test result around midnight.
|Britain's PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
“I’ve taken a test. That has come out positive,” Johnson said on Friday in a video statement broadcast on Twitter. “I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus. That’s to say - a temperature and a persistent cough.
“So I am working from home. I’m self-isolating,” Johnson said. “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.”
British health minister Matt Hancock said later on Friday morning that he has also tested positive and is self-isolating at home with mild symptoms.
Johnson is the first leader of a major power to announce a positive test result for coronavirus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into isolation earlier this month after his wife tested positive for the virus.
U.S. President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both been tested, so far with negative results.
Johnson chaired a government meeting on the coronavirus on Friday morning via teleconference.
It was not immediately clear how many Downing Street staff and senior ministers would need to isolate themselves given that many have had contact with Johnson over recent days and weeks.Reuters