UK prime minister Boris Johnson has become the first world leader to say he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Johnson is self-isolating in his Downing Street offices after a test on Thursday found he had the virus, the government said in an e-mail on Friday.
“I’ve developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus, that’s to say a temperature and a persistent cough,” Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter.
“I’m working from home, I’m self isolating, that’s entirely the right thing to do. But, be in no doubt, I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback 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.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
The pound erased its gains against the dollar after the announcement.
Johnson is the latest high profile individual to contract the virus and comes after Prince Charles, the heir to the UK throne, also tested positive. Johnson was assessed by National Health Service staff on the advice of the chief medical officer Chris Whitty.
Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab would stand in for Johnson if the prime minister is unable to carry out his duties.
Johnson ended his Twitter video by thanking the public services for their efforts and reiterated his optimism that the country will overcome the virus challenge.
“The more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back,” Johnson said. “We’re going to beat it and we’re going to beat it together. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”