British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the first leader of a major nation to contract COVID-19, but he insisted Friday that he remains in charge of the United Kingdom’s response to the outbreak.
Johnson, 55, said he was tested Thursday on the advice of the country’s chief medical officer after showing “mild symptoms” of a temperature and a persistent cough.
“I’ve taken a test, that’s come out positive so I am working from home, I am self-isolating, and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” Johnson said in a video message posted on his Twitter account.
“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 fight back against coronavirus.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was also confirmed to have the virus. Hancock, 41, tweeted: “Thankfully my symptoms are mild.”
Johnson is the highest-profile political leader to have contracted the virus, which has infected more than 500,000 people around the world.
The diagnoses of Johnson and Hancock are the latest evidence that no one — no matter how high-profile — is untouched by the global pandemic.
Politicians may be especially exposed, since they meet large numbers of people and hold multiple meetings daily. Britain’s Parliament continued to meet as the virus spread, before it was eventually suspended on Tuesday.
As of Thursday, Britain had 11,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 578 people had died.
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