United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday confirmed that he has tested positive for coronavirus, becoming the first world leader to disclose contracting the virus.
Johnson said that he would continue to lead efforts to fight the pandemic while self-isolating at 10 Downing Street, his official residence. “I’m working from home and self-isolating, and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” he said in a video posted to Twitter.
“But 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 fight-back against coronavirus.”
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
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
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Shortly after Johnson announced his diagnosis, the UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that he has also tested positive for the virus.
Following medical advice, I was advised to test for #Coronavirus.
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
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) March 27, 2020
The developments come as infections continue to rise throughout the country, with 11,658 confirmed cases and 548 deaths as of Friday. For weeks, Johnson had been heavily criticized for failing to take the situation seriously enough, even as the crises in Spain and Italy rapidly unfolded. But over the past week, Johnson moved to close pubs and restaurants before finally enforcing a national lockdown to curb the spread of infections.