United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Friday. Johnson, 55, is the first head of government to have contracted the infection.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter, along with a video. “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 said he would continue to communicate with his team and lead the UK’s fight against the pandemic. He also thanked doctors and volunteers for their work.
“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,” he said. “I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS [National Health Service] staff.”
Earlier this week, Johnson’s spokesperson had said that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would take charge if he became unwell, BBC reported. Johnson is the second high-profile person in the UK after Prince Charles to have tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, 41, announced on Twitter that he had also tested positive. “Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus,” he said. “I’ve tested positive. Thankfully my symptoms are mild and I’m working from home & self-isolating.”
Nadine Dorries, an under-secretary in the Health Department, had also tested positive earlier this month.
The UK has more than 11,000 coronavirus cases. More than 500 people have died of the highly-contagious disease in the country. Last week, Johnson had ordered pubs, restaurants and shops to close, banned social gatherings and told people to stay at home unless they needed to buy food or in case of an emergency. The police have been directed to impose fines on people who leaves their homes without good reason or gather in groups.
Johnson becomes the third major world leader to land into self-isolation, though the first because he tested positive. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been working from home after his wife tested positive, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel quarantined herself after she came into contact with a doctor who contracted Covid-19.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi replied to Johnson, calling him a “fighter”.