UK PM Boris Johnson, health minister Matt Hancock test positive for COVID-19
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|Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first remote news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak, in London, March 25, 2020. Reuters|
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.
"I've taken a test. That has come out positive," Johnson said 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."
"The prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty," a Downing Street spokesman said.
Two hours after the announcement, British health minister Matt Hancock separately said on Twitter on Friday that he has also tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating at home with mild symptoms.
It was not immediately clear how many Downing Street staff and senior ministers would now need to isolate given that many have had contact with Johnson over recent days and weeks.
His finance minister, Rishi Sunak, was not self-isolating, a Treasury source said.
When Britain clapped health workers on Thursday evening, Johnson and Sunak came out of separate entrances on Downing Street and did not come into close contact, according to a Reuters photographer at the scene.
Nor was it immediately clear whether Johnson's 32-year-old partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, had been tested.
The government said that if Johnson is unable to work, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will replace him.
Buckingham Palace on Friday said Queen Elizabeth last saw Johnson on Mar 11.
The palace added that the queen remains in good health and is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare.
However, the palace has so far declined to comment on whether the Queen, who will be 94 next month, has been tested for Covid-19. She remains at Windsor Castle.
So far, 578 people in the United Kingdom have died after testing positive for coronavirus and the number of confirmed cases has risen to 11,658. The UK toll is the seventh worst in the world, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the United States, according to a Reuters tally.
Earlier this week Britain's Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, tested positive for coronavirus but is in good health and is now self-isolating at his residence in Scotland with mild symptoms along with his wife Camilla, who tested negative, his office said./.
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