The U.K.’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the country’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock have both tested positive for coronavirus, the government said Friday. Their symptoms are described as mild, and they are self-isolating.
In a tweet Johnson 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.”
In a video embedded in the tweet, he said his symptoms were “a temperature and a persistent cough.” He underscored the message that he continued to lead the government. “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 ended the video by emphasizing the importance of social distancing, and supporting the efforts of the National Health Service (NHS): “Thank you to everybody who is doing what I am doing – working from home. Stop the spread of the virus from household to household. That’s the way we are going to win.
“We are going to beat it, and we are going to beat it together. Stay at home. Protect the NHS and save lives.”
Johnson, whose fiancée is pregnant with their first child, has been public-facing for weeks, appearing before cameras almost every day alongside various ministers and U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak for the government’s daily coronavirus press briefing, which is televised.
The leader’s diagnosis comes just one day after it was confirmed that Prince Charles has also tested positive for the virus, as confirmed by Clarence House. The heir to the British throne is the country’s first royal to have contracted coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau placed himself in social isolation after his partner, Sophie Trudeau, tested positive for coronavirus. Meanwhile, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier also tested positive for coronavirus last week.
The U.K. is grappling with 11,658 cases of COVID-19, with 578 deaths to date.
Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.