Boris Johnson Is Among A Handful Of Tory MPs Forced To Self-Isolate After Meeting With A Colleague Who Tested Positive For Covid-19
Boris Johnson is one of a number of MPs in self-isolation after their colleague Lee Anderson tested positive for Covid-19 (Facebook/Lee Anderson MP)
Boris Johnson is one of a handful of Tory MPs who have been forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with a colleague who has since tested positive for coronavirus.
The Prime Minister will now have to spend a fortnight in quarantine, capping off a tumultuous few days which saw both his closest aide Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain leave Number 10 after a bitter power struggle.
Having been planning to relaunch his premiership this week after briefings and infighting among his top team, he will now have to lead the government’s response to the pandemic from within his flat in Downing Street until at least November 26.
Mr Johnson has released a video on social media this morning saying he is "in good health" and he has "no symptoms” of Covid-19, and would have "plenty more to say by Zoom and other means of electronic communication" in the coming days.
Last Thursday morning he met with a group of MPs from the 2019 intake for around 35 minutes, one of those was Lee Anderson, who subsequently developed symptoms and has now tested positive the virus.
He posted a picture of himself and the PM from the event, where neither of them were wearing face coverings and they did not appear to be standing two metres apart.
Mr Anderson, the Conservative member for Ashfield, wrote on Facebook: “On Friday I lost my sense of taste at the same time my wife had a bad headache.
“I had no cough, no fever and felt well. We both had a test on Saturday and the result came in Sunday morning. My wife and I both tested positive.”
As a result the PM said he was advised by NHS Test and Trace he should self-isolate, despite having already caught the virus back in March and proclaiming he was “bursting with antibodies”.
The other Tory MPs in attendance have revealed they are also now in quarantine, confirmed to be Lia Nici, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Andy Carter, Chris Clarkson and Katherine Fletcher.
In his Twitter message Mr Johnson said: "Hi folks, the good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever-more efficiently, but the bad news is that they've pinged me and I've got to self isolate because someone I was in contact with a few days ago has developed Covid.
"It doesn't matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn't matter that I'm fit as a butcher's dog, feel great - so many people do in my circumstances.
"And actually it doesn't matter that I've had the disease and I'm bursting with antibodies.
“We've got to interrupt the spread of the disease and one of the ways we can do that now is by self-isolating for 14 days when contacted by Test and Trace."
It is believed Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is working with Parliamentary authorities so he may still take part in debates remotely, such as Wednesday's PMQs session.
But the health secretary Matt Hancock will now host tonight’s Downing Street press conference which the PM had been expected to lead.
Asked about his boss, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast Mr Johnson was "very sprightly”, adding: "I'd say probably the majority of my meetings with the Prime Minister are over video conference - of course I see him as well - and you can be really effective that way."
Mr Johnson spent several nights in intensive care back in April after contracting Covid-19, and quizzed as to why he was not now considered to have immunity, Mr Hancock said: "The answer is because some people do get it again.
"I've had it but I follow all of the rules because people can catch it twice.
"We haven't yet got the rigorous evidence we need on how likely people are to catch it twice, although we are working very hard on that.
"The Prime Minister is following exactly the same rules as every other person in the country."