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27 March 2020

Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus

The Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.

By Patrick Maguire

Boris Johnson has today tested positive for coronavirus and will be self-isolating in Downing Street, the government has announced this morning.

The Prime Minister approached Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, after experiencing mild symptoms yesterday. Whitty recommended Johnson take a test, which returned a positive result at around midnight last night.

He will self-isolate for seven days from his flat above 11 Downing Street, which will now serve in its entirety as office space for the Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, has vacated his office for Johnson. The doors between 10 and 11 Downing Street have been closed for the duration of the self-isolation period.

Though the Prime Minister left Downing Street while symptomatic yesterday evening, to applaud NHS staff alongside Sunak at 8pm, he observed social distancing measures throughout.

Sunak has not yet shown symptoms and has therefore not been tested. He will not self-isolate. Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, will deputise for Johnson in the event that he is incapacitated. For now, however, the Prime Minister will continue to work.

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Downing Street staff will have no direct contact with Johnson and will instead knock on his door to alert him to deliveries of documents and food, before “safely departing”. They have been advised that they do not to self-isolate themselves unless they have symptoms. It is understood that no No 10 staff have so far tested positive.

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Johnson has not seen the Queen since 11 March, Buckingham Palace confirmed. Since this week, their weekly Wednesday afternoon audience has been conducted via phone. Downing Street would not be drawn on whether Carrie Symonds, the Prime Minister’s partner, is currently living with him. Symonds, who is pregnant, is in a high risk group.

That the Prime Minister is self-isolating for only seven days, rather than the 14 required for households, suggests they are living apart.