Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday morning that he has tested positive for coronavirus, after having visible symptoms for at least a day.
JUST IN: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for coronavirus pic.twitter.com/9Vnt9EsNH9
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 27, 2020
In a video posted on social media, Johnson said he tested positive for the COVID-19 but was intending to continue governing the country “via video-conference.”
“I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus. That’s to say – a temperature and a persistent cough,” he said.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson said in the caption. “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,” he added.
In the video, 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 fight back against coronavirus.”
The prime minister encouraged people to follow national health guidelines amid the ongoing pandemic.
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“The more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back,” he said.
Johnson also thanked all those essential personnel on the front lines helping keep the country intact: “It’s police, social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools… an amazing national effort by the public services. But also by every member of the British public.”
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
Reuters reports a Downing Street spokesperson said Johnson started exhibiting symptoms on Thursday and took the test with National Health Service staff.
“The prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty,” the spokesman said per the report.
Adding, “The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive.”
“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 death toll is the seventh highest in the world, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France, and the United States, according to a Reuters tally,” MSN reports.
As a worst-case scenario, Politico reports Dominic Raab has been named “designated survivor” by Downing Street to govern in Johnson’s place.
Dominic Raab has been named “designated survivor” by Downing Street if Boris Johnson or his top aides are taken ill during the coronavirus crisis https://t.co/of53pDiejK
— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) March 22, 2020
The Washington Examiner adds:
Earlier this week, Johnson placed the United Kingdom in a lockdown, barring any social gatherings and urging people to only leave their homes for essential trips, such as purchasing groceries. As of Friday morning, the U.K. had nearly 12,000 cases of coronavirus and 580 related deaths.
Before the virus accelerated in the U.K., Johnson exhibited a more nonchalant attitude about the illness. Following a March 3 visit to a hospital treating coronavirus patients, Johnson quipped that he “shook hands with everybody” in the facility.
Johnson is the latest major figure in the U.K. to contract the illness. Prince Charles also tested positive, the royal family announced on Wednesday.