British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is self-isolating with what he described as “mild symptoms.”
Mr Johnson said he had developed mild symptoms over the past 24 hours, including a temperature and cough.
He is self-isolating in Downing Street but said he will “continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus”.
Following Mr Johnson’s announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said he had tested positive for the virus.
Mr Hancock in a Twitter video said his symptoms were also mild and he was working from home and self-isolating.
Mr Johnson, who is 55, was last seen on Thursday night, clapping outside No 10 as part of a nationwide gesture to thank NHS staff and carers.
In the video, which Johnson recorded himself on a mobile phone, he said: “Be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.”
“I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS staff.”
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/9Te6aFP0Ri
Later, Hancock said he would be self-isolating until next Thursday.
“Fortunately for me the symptoms so far have been very mild so I’ve been able to carry on with the work driving forward the UK response,” he said. “I’ll be continuing to do everything I can to get our carers the support that they need. And I’ll be doing that from here but with no less gusto.”
“And then from next Thursday, once I’m out of self-isolation and I hope with no more symptoms, then I’ll be able to get back stuck in and into the office where necessary.”
Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) March 27, 2020
I‘ve tested positive. Thankfully my symptoms are mild and I’m working from home & self-isolating.
Vital we follow the advice to protect our NHS & save lives#StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/TguWH6Blij
Meanwhile, the United States is quickly becoming the new epicenter of the global outbreak and now leads the world in confirmed cases after surpassing China’s reported total. More than 82,000 people have been infected and nearly 1,200 have died in the United States.
In Washington, the House is expected to vote Friday on a $2 trillion emergency relief bill, offering a measure of solace amid a sharp downturn and uncertainty over how long restrictions on movement will remain.