UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the new coronavirus. Earlier in the day, Johnson announced on Twitter that he developed mild symptoms over the last 24 hours and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus.
Johnson says he is now self-isolating but will continue to lead the government’s response via video conference as the fight to stop the virus continues.
A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson, 55, experienced mild symptoms on Thursday – a day after he answered at the prime minister’s weekly question-and-answer session in the chamber of the House of Commons.
The spokesman said: “The prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty.
“The test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff and the result of the test was positive,” the spokesman added. In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.
In early February, as the UK took a different approach to much of the rest of Europe in its handling of the crisis, Johnson said he was continuing to shake hands with people – even in a hospital in which he said there were patients being treated for coronavirus infections.
Three weeks later, the country was placed in a state of near lockdown, with movement restricted and all but “essential workers” advised not to leave their homes.
The announcement came as Spain recorded 769 new deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the country due to the coronavirus to 4,858.
Meanwhile, the United States now has more coronavirus cases than any other country with close to 86,000 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University data, pushing the total numbers worldwide to more than 540,000.