(LONDON) — The prime minister of the U.K., Boris Johnson, has tested positive for coronavirus after developing mild symptoms.
In a video posted on his official Twitter page, the prime minister said that he was tested for the illness after suffering a high temperature and a persistent cough, and will now be self-isolating.
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 #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
He will continue to lead the government via video-conference calls.
“After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, the Prime Minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty,” a Downing Street spokesperson said. “The test was carried out in No 10 by [National Health Service] staff and the result of the test was positive. In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.”
“He is continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus,” the spokesperson added.
The prime minister was adamant that he would continue to be able to lead the country while working from home.
“But be in no doubt 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 in a video address.
Johnson also paid tribute to the staff of the U.K.’s National service and the more than 600,000 volunteers from the British public who have signed up to assist health workers to fight the spread of coronavirus.
“I want to thank everybody who’s working to keep our country going through this epidemic,” he said. “And we will get through it… So thank you to everybody who’s doing what I’m doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household.”
The news that Johnson has tested positive comes towards the end of one of the most dramatic weeks in British history. On Monday, the prime minister declared a “moment of national emergency” — as he announced that across the U.K. the public could only leave the house for one form of daily exercise and essential shopping, while gatherings of more than two people have been banned.
Cases of the novel coronavirus have been steadily rising in the country, with 11,816 cases confirmed so far and 578 deaths attributed to the virus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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