The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Fri (27 Mar) revealed that he was tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Stating that he had “developed mild symptoms” of the virus “over the last 24 hours”, Mr Johnson confirmed that he is now “self-isolating” at home.
However, the prime minister assured that he “will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus”.
In a video accompanying his tweet, Mr Johnson said that doing so is the “entirely the right thing to do”.
“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 fightback against coronavirus,” he quipped, thanking “everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS [National Health Service] staff”.
“So thank you to everybody who’s doing what I’m doing — working from home to stop the spread of the virus from household to household,” he added.
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.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Mr Johnson was confirmed to have the virus just days after he announced a lockdown on Mon night (23 Mar).
The prime minister began his televised address with a simple instruction: “I must give the British people a very simple instruction. You must stay at home.”
Exceptions, however, apply to the following activities:
- Shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine. Such trips should be made “as infrequently as possible”;
- Engaging in “one form of exercise a day” such as running, walking or cycling — alone or only with people living in the same household;
- Obtaining urgent medical assistance, or providing care for or help to a vulnerable person, including moving children under the age of 18 between their parents’ homes, where applicable;
- Key workers or those with vulnerable children sending their children to school; and
- Commuting between work and home where working at home is not possible.
Stopping the virus from spreading between households is the “critical thing they must do”, stressed Mr Johnson.
“You should say ‘no’. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine, and you should do this as little as you can. Use food delivery services where you can,” he said.
All shops that sell non-essentials including clothing and electronic stores, and other premises like playgrounds, libraries, outdoor gyms and places of worship will be closed.
All social events including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies will not be allowed, except for funerals. Parks will remain open for exercise.
Mr Johnson warned that those who defy the “stay-at-home” order will be subject to police action such as fines and dispersing gatherings.
These measures are also necessary to keep the UK’s health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), from collapsing under pressure, the PM added.
“Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses,” he said.