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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has been self-isolating for a week after suspected coronavirus infection

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

2 min read

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has revealed he has been in self-isolation for the past week as he recovered from a suspected coronavirus infection.

The senior cabinet minister said he had been working from home since last Tuesday after showing symptoms of the illness, but had now recovered.

His announcement makes him the fourth cabinet minister to enter self-isolation after Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock were diagnosed with the illness on Friday, while Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is also working from home after experiencing symptoms.

It comes as the Department of Health announced the number of deaths in the UK had risen by 563 to a total of 2,352, the largest daily increase yet.

Mr Wallace said he suspected he was suffering from the illness but had not sought to get tested due to having only mild symptoms.

In a statement, he added: "I felt symptoms last Tuesday and followed NHS guidelines by self-isolating in my flat. I continued to work throughout the week and am recovered now."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Boris Johnson said the Prime Minister was still only experiencing mild symptoms of the virus and was continuing to lead the government's efforts to tackle the outbreak from his flat in Number 11 Downing Street.

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "on the mend" after also testing positive for Covid-19, but insisted he was still well enough to work from home while self-isolating.

The announcement after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick claimed the UK would double its testing capacity to 25,000 within a fortnight.

The cabinet minister said the NHS currently had the capacity to carry out 12,700 test each day, but hoped that figure would rise to 15,000 "within days".

He told Sky News: "That's a significant increase but still not as far as we would like it to be, and mid-April is when we would expect to be at 25,000."

Mr Jenrick added: "We had 8,240 people test on Monday. We have capacity to test about 12,700 people and so we're going to use that spare capacity to start testing NHS workers."

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