Prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock infected with COVID-19

Prime minister Boris Johnson and health and social care secretary Matt Hancock are self-isolating after developing mild symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19.

Prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo: Ian Vogler/AFP/Getty Images)
Prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo: Ian Vogler/AFP/Getty Images)

In a statement from Downing Street, the prime minister confirmed he would continue to lead the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and repeated advice for the general public to stay home.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock confirmed within minutes of the announcement from the prime minister that he too had tested positive for COVID-19 - and CMO Professor Chris Whitty has also said he is self-isolating after experiencing symptoms 'compatible with COVID-19'.

Confirmation that the prime minister and health and social care secretary have been infected with COVID-19 comes as officials investigate the death of an Essex GP who may be the first doctor to have died after contracting coronavirus.

BMA leaders have called repeatedly for better protection for frontline NHS staff, amid warnings that doctors have been forced to try to purchase their own supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) from DIY stores.

Doctors' leaders have also hit out at the lack of testing available for frontline staff - with doctors experiencing 'mild symptoms' like those reported by the prime minister currently unable to access tests in most parts of England.

Coronavirus testing

GPs have warned that practices have been left with staff shortages because of staff with potential coronavirus symptoms being forced to self isolate and unable to confirm whether they are genuinely infected with COVID-19.

Doctors Association UK leader Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden said: 'We are sorry to hear that both Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock have tested positive for COVID-19 and we wish them both a speedy recovery. The NHS will always be here for them should they need us.

'We recognise the importance of key workers being tested for COVID-19, and both the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary are clearly needed at this time. Healthcare workers will be hoping that this signals an expansion of testing to them as well.

'Most frontline NHS staff who are symptomatic, or have a household member who is unwell, are still being denied tests and asked to self-isolate for seven to 14 days. This is taking dedicated NHS staff away from the frontline at a time they are needed most. Frontline testing must now be rolled out to NHS staff as a priority.'

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