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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden becomes latest cabinet minister to self-isolate amid coronavirus outbreak

Oliver Dowden announced he would be going into isolation following new government advice

2 min read

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has become the second cabinet minister forced to self-isolate as the coronavirus spreads across the country.

The top minister is set for a two week period of isolation after one of his family members began showing symptoms of the virus.

It comes just hours after Boris Johnson told the public they must remain indoors for 14 days if anyone in their household develops either a persistent cough or a temperature above 37 degrees.

The Culture Secretary is the second member of the Cabinet to be forced into self-isolation after International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevlyan announced she would be taking the precaution despite testing negative for the illness.

In a tweet, Mr Dowden said: "A member of my family currently has Covid-19 symptoms so in line with government advice I will be remaining at home.

"I'm feeling fine and will of course be working on DCMS priorities in these very challenging times, and continuing to support my consitutents in Hertsmere."

Two MPs, Health Minister Nadine Dorries and Labour's Kate Osborne, have both tested positive for the illness, while a further 20 are believed to be self-isolating.

The stricter quarantine measures came as ministers ordered Brits to end all "non-essential contact" after the government's medical and scientific advisers announced the UK was entering the "fast growth phase" of the illness.

Speaking during a Downing Street press conference on Monday, the PM said people over 70, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions should make a particular effort to avoid "social contact" with others for the next 12 weeks.

Meanwhile, MPs have also been urged to stay away from Westminster in an effort to limit the impact of the illness on Britian's democratic institutions.

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and Lords Speaker Lord Fowler said MPs, peers and their staff would be allowed to continue working on the Estate "where necessary" but were being "strongly encouraged to work from home".

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