Boris Johnson Has Tested Negative For Covid-19 - But Will Take PMQs Over Zoom This Week
Boris Johnson has tested negative for coronavirus but will still spend a fortnight in self-isolation (PA)
Boris Johnson has tested negative for Covid-19 but will still self-isolate for a full two weeks after coming into contact with a Tory MP who has the virus, Downing Street has confirmed.
It means the Commons will see its first ever Prime Minister’s Questions session with the Prime Minister taking part while not in the chamber, as he is set to appear virtually on Wednesday.
Mr Johnson is one of a number of Conservatives in quarantine this week and next after spending time with their colleague Lee Anderson, who tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend.
The PM was left in intensive care after contracting the disease back in March, but is currently suffering no symptoms and claimed he is “bursting with antibodies”.
His official spokesperson said after the PM was informed by NHS Test and Trace of his exposure to Mr Anderson, following a meeting he and several other MPs had in Number 10 last Thursday, he took a test on a “precautionary basis”.
It was part of a pilot scheme for Downing Street staff of new rapid turnaround lateral flow tests, where people can volunteer for one without having symptoms.
The test came back negative, with the spokesperson adding: "But he will, in accordance with the rules on self-isolation, continue to self-isolate."
As a result, Mr Johnson will appear at PMQs tomorrow via video-link from the Cabinet Room.
It comes after the number of Tory MPs self-isolating reached 12, despite both Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament standing by their claims they are Covid-safe environments.
But a source inside Number 10 told the Guardian attempts to prevent the spread of the virus in the 300-year-old buildings are being hampered by narrow “rat runs”.
“There are plenty of narrow corridors and most are still in use. Some have to be used to both enter and leave a set of rooms, so sometimes people pass each other at close quarters. There is only so much you can do in such an old building,” they said.
And the PCS union is warning up to 100 contracted support staff at the business department could go on strike in December over a lack of Covid safety.
They are balloting members ahead of potential industrial action, saying contractor ISS is “refusing to wind down support services sufficiently to enable members to shield safely”.
The union’s general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "BEIS and ISS are continuing to put our members at unnecessary risk by not allowing support staff to stay at home.
"Most civil servants are working well from home and there should be no need for our support staff to continue to put themselves in harm's way at BEIS."