On 27 March 2020, at 11.15, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for Coronavirus, but that he was experiencing mild symptoms and that he was continuing to work from home.

In the absence of a Deputy Prime Minister, an office that has been in and out of use since Clement Attlee first held the role in 1942, the de facto second-in-command in the United Kingdom is the First Secretary of State, the most senior of all the Cabinet ministers. The current First Secretary of State is the Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab.

The full statement read as follows:

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.

On 3 March 2020, the Prime Minister was asked by Heather MacDonald of Channel 4 News about whether he had a personal policy to avoid contracting the virus. In response, he replied,

“I can tell you that I am shaking hands… 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. And I continue to shake hands. … People can obviously make up their own minds… but I think the scientific evidence is that … washing your hands is the crucial thing.”

On 12 March 2020, at a subsequent Downing Street press conference, Pippa Crerar of the Mirror asked two questions, the second of which was whether the Prime Minister himself had any concerns about catching coronavirus, and relatedly whether any measures were in place should the Prime Minister contract the virus and be “incapacitated for any length of time”.

“I’m washing my hands,” was the Prime Minister’s laconic response.

Update: Health Secretary Matt Hancock Also Tests Positive

Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also taken to Twitter to announce that he has tested positive for COVID-19, and is currently experiencing only mild symptoms. Like his boss, he will be working from home.

Picture source. “Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.”

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