U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive for Coronavirus

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he revealed on Friday morning.

Johnson said he had "developed mild symptoms" of the virus and intended to continue leading the U.K. government through video conferences in a recorded statement announcing that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Prime Minister also said he would be "self-isolating" at his 10 Downing Street residence as he experienced a "persistent cough" and a high temperature.

"Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus," the prime minister tweeted. "I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government's response via video-conference as we fight this virus."

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

In his video statement, he added: "I've developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus, that's to say a temperature and persistent cough, and on the advice of the chief medical officer I've taken a test.

"That has come out positive so I am working from home. I'm self-isolating and that's entirely the right thing to do. But be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback against coronavirus."

He went on to thank emergency service staff involved in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus and said it was "very moving" to see the nation clapping for National Health Service staff on Thursday night.

"We will get through it, and the way we're going to get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you'll have heard so much about," he added.

boris johnson
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a nationwide 'stay-at-home' order Monday. Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty

"The more effectively we all comply with those measures the faster our country will come through this epidemic, and the faster we'll bounce back."

Downing Street also published a statement on Friday morning saying: "After experiencing mild symptoms yesterday, 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.

"In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street. He is continuing to lead the government's response to coronavirus."

The U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock released a statement saying that he had also tested positive for novel coronavirus shortly after the prime minister's announcement.

"Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus. I've tested positive," he said. "Thankfully my symptoms are mild and I'm working from home & self-isolating."

Newsweek has contacted 10 Downing Street for further information. The Cabinet Office directed Newsweek to the prime minister's social media posts on his coronavirus diagnosis.

The Conservative prime minister's announcement was met with well wishes from Members of Parliament from both of the U.K.'s leading parties.

"Sorry to hear this and hope you feel better soon," the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted. "Thank you for everything your Government is doing to help us fight this."

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health and social care secretary, said: "Very best wishes to the Prime Minister and his family. I know this is a hugely worrying time for everyone but we will come through this."

"Whole Javid family and country thinking of you @BorisJohnson & @carriesymonds," the former Chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted. "Thank you for your strong leadership at a time of crisis. Get well soon!"

Prime Minister Johnson revealed that he had COVID-19 days after issuing a nationwide "stay-at-home" policy mandating that people only leave their homes for essential shopping, one type of exercise a day or medical necessities.

He has also ordered the closures of all shops selling non-essential goods and shuttered pubs, restaurants and cafe in an effort to quell the coronavirus' spread.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.