Boris Johnson, tested positive, continues to work

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 25 in his office at 10 Downing Street on the phone with Queen Elizabeth II for their weekly audience.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 25 in his office at 10 Downing Street on the phone with Queen Elizabeth II for their weekly audience. ANDREW PARSONS / AFP

A persistent cough and fever since the evening before late afternoon: Boris Johnson revealed Friday morning, March 27, to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. "I isolated myself but I continue to lead the government through teleconferences to continue the fight against the virus", he explains in a suit and tie, in a short video posted on his official Twitter account. After Prince Charles two days earlier, these are two of the most important figures in the United Kingdom who are now sick.

Westminster is a hot spot in the epidemic: Matt Hancock, the highly exposed health minister, also tested positive for the new coronavirus on Friday noon. Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical adviser, admitted hours later that he was suffering from Covid-19 symptoms and that he would also isolate himself.

Last week already, David Frost, the chief negotiator for Brexit, and the epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the main experts consulted by the government, had announced that they were confining themselves, having symptoms of Covid-19 these days. "Where did you get this?" ", BBC journalist Nick Robinson asked Ferguson on March 18. " I do not know. I’ve had so many meetings in the past few weeks. Central London is a hot spot right now, " replied the researcher from Imperial College London.

Mild symptoms

These announcements came as the UK recorded its highest number of Covid-19 deaths – 181 in twenty-four hours. Since the start of the epidemic in the country, 759 deaths related to the virus have been recorded (in hospitals), for a cumulative of 14,579 positive tests (since March are only tested in the hospitals).

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Downing Street insisted on Friday, however: Boris Johnson, 55, has mild symptoms and remains fully capable of serving as head of government. "He felt symptoms late in the afternoon yesterday and immediately made sure that he was not in close contact with others. He wanted to participate in the applause for the NHS (the health system) at 8 p.m., but isolated as soon as the test results were known, around midnight ", said a spokesperson.

The Prime Minister is expected to remain confined for seven days and work from "Number 11", the adjoining building of "Number 10", where the Chancellor of the Exchequer ordinarily resides in Downing Street. "The doors between Number 10 and Number 11 can be closed to allow isolation", further explains the spokesperson. Matt Hancock, 41, on the front line since the start of the epidemic, will also have to work remotely.


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