UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. He is the first leader of a major Western country to test positive for the virus.
Johnson announced the news in a video statement on Twitter on Friday morning.
“I’ve taken a test. That has come out positive,” Johnson said. “I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus. That’s to say – a temperature and a persistent cough.”
The prime minister is now self-isolating at home in London for seven days. However, he still plans to lead the country from home. “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.
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.
Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/9Te6aFP0Ri
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Johnson began experiencing symptoms on Thursday. He received the positive test result around midnight, Reuters reports.
Since then, he has already participated in one COVID-19 meeting via video conference. “That’s how it will continue while the PM is self-isolating. He will do the same things, but that will be done exclusively by teleconferencing on his part,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
The prime minister previously bragged about shaking hands with coronavirus patients at a hospital in early March. “I’m shaking hands continuously,” Johnson said. “I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know. I continue to shake hands.” He then urged everyone to continue “going about our business as usual.” His approach to the pandemic has changed, though, as the outbreak continues to spread.
There are over 11,000 coronavirus cases in the UK as of this writing. Meanwhile, the United States has surpassed China as the country with the most cases (per The New York Times).
President Donald Trump reportedly tested negative for the virus. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in self-isolation for two weeks because his wife tested positive.
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