LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Johnson wrote: “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 videoconference as we fight this virus.”
Johnson also shared a video message in which he once again urged Britons to “stay at home” to stop the spread of the virus.
Johnson, 55, was last seen in public applauding health-care workers on Thursday evening from the door of 10 Downing Street as a part of a national celebration of the front-line nurses and doctors.
Johnson has recently appeared in good health. After initial hesitation to embrace the strict measures pursued elsewhere in Europe to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister recently changed course and began to hold his meetings via videoconference, sitting at a table alone and looking at a large TV screen.
The prime minister — whose fiancee, Carrie Symonds, is pregnant — appeared at the government’s daily news conference two days ago.
On his doctor’s recommendation, Johnson will isolate himself for seven days and will forgo public appearances and group meetings.
Later on Friday, Chris Witty, chief medical officer in England, tweeted that he was also experiencing symptoms consistent with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. He said he “will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days” but will continue to advise the government on its medical response to the outbreak.
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II last saw the prime minister on March 11 and “remains in good health,” local news outlets reported. After her son, Prince Charles, tested positive for the virus, the queen left the palace to stay at Windsor Castle, west of London.
Within an hour of Johnson’s disclosure that he has the coronavirus, Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, also announced that he has tested positive. In a video message shared on Twitter, Hancock said: “Upon medical advice, I was tested, and that test has been positive. . . . Fortunately for me, those symptoms so far have been very mild."
Hancock said he would isolate himself until next Thursday and had been working from home in recent days.
Johnson is the first leader of the Group of 20 nations to test positive for the virus. Two others — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — have entered self-quarantine over concerns that they may have been exposed to the virus.
In Russia, another G-20 country, a presidential administration employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, but that person did not come in contact with President Vladimir Putin, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.