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Key questions after Boris Johnson announces he has Covid-19

The Prime Minister said he had been experiencing ‘mild symptoms’ while Matt Hancock has also tested positive.


Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for coronavirus (PA)

Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for coronavirus (PA)

Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for coronavirus (PA)

As Boris Johnson announces he has tested positive for coronavirus, the PA news agency looks at questions surrounding his diagnosis and what could happen going forward.

– What symptoms does Mr Johnson have?

The Prime Minister said he was tested after experiencing “mild symptoms” on Thursday, on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

In a video on his Twitter account, Mr Johnson, 55, said he had developed a temperature and a persistent cough.

– Where is Mr Johnson self-isolating?

Mr Johnson will be self-isolating in his flat above Number 11 Downing Street, according to his official spokesman, in line with official advice for those who test positive for Covid-19.

“So, I am working from home, I’m self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” Mr Johnson said.

– Will he be able to carry on in his role?

A Downing Street spokesman said that Mr Johnson will still continue to lead the Government’s response on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Johnson said that “thanks to the wizardry of modern technology” he is able to communicate with his team to “lead the national fightback against coronavirus”.

– Who could take over if Mr Johnson becomes unwell?

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would stand in if Mr Johnson became unwell.

If Mr Raab was also ill, then the Prime Minister has the power to delegate responsibility to any of his ministers, the spokesman added.

– Will his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds be required to self-isolate?

It has been suggested that the couple – who are expecting a baby in “early summer” – are not living together at present.

Asked whether Ms Symonds is also living in their flat above Number 11, Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister of course follows all of the guidelines which have been issued by Public Health England in full.

“His circumstance is such that he will be required to self-isolate for seven days.”

Official advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says pregnant women fall into the group of vulnerable people urged to avoid contact with those who have symptoms of Covid-19.

Mr Johnson and his Ms Symonds (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

– Has anyone else close to Mr Johnson tested positive?

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he had also tested positive for coronavirus and was self-isolating at home.

It is not clear when he last came into contact with the PM but recent Cabinet meetings have been held virtually rather than in person.

Later on Friday, Prof Whitty tweeted to say he was self-isolating at home for the next seven days after he began “experiencing symptoms compatible with Covid-19” on Thursday night.

– Will Mr Hancock carry on as Health Secretary?

Mr Hancock said his symptoms had also been mild and he was “able to carry on with the work driving forward the UK response”.

In a video message on Twitter, he said: “I’ll be continuing to do everything I can to get our carers the support that they need. And I’ll be doing that from here but with no less gusto.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“And then from next Thursday, once I’m out of self-isolation and I hope with no more symptoms, then I’ll be able to get back stuck in and into the office where necessary.”

– Will Prof Whitty continue in his role while self-isolating?

In a tweet, England’s chief medical officer said he would continue to advise the Government on the medical response to the outbreak, while being supported by his deputies.

– When has Mr Johnson been in contact with the chief medical officer?

Mr Johnson was joined by Prof Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance at a Downing Street briefing on Wednesday.

Sir Patrick tweeted on Friday afternoon to say that he had not experienced any symptoms and so had not been tested.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty, left, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, right, during a press conference at 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson alongside Prof Chris Whitty, left, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a press conference at 10 Downing Street (Simon Dawson/PA)

– Who else has the Prime Minister been in contact with recently?

On Thursday night, Mr Johnson applauded the NHS outside Downing Street – a couple of metres away from Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

A spokesman said Mr Sunak has not had any symptoms, so therefore has not been tested for coronavirus and is not self-isolating.

Deputy medical officer Dr Jenny Harries has also joined the Prime Minister at a Downing Street press briefing – most recently on Sunday.

– When did Mr Johnson last meet with the Queen?

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed the Queen last saw Mr Johnson just over two weeks ago.

He said: “Her Majesty the Queen remains in good health. The Queen last saw the Prime Minister on March 11 and is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare.”