Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has subsequently tested positive for Covid-19, Downing Street has said.
The prime minister was present at a 35-minute meeting with a small group of Conservative MPs on Thursday morning. One of them, Lee Anderson, subsequently developed symptoms of Covid-19 and has tested positive.
Downing Street insisted that Number 10 was a covid-secure workplace; but said Test and Trace had advised the prime minister that because of factors including the length of the meeting, he should self-isolate as a precaution.
The advice comes at a difficult moment for the government, as Johnson tries to restore a sense of order, after a tumultuous week that resulted in the departure of two of his key aides, Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain.
Johnson is expected to continue to make public statements from inside Number 10, including on the government’s green plans. This is also a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations with the EU reach their final phase.
Downing Street said Johnson will liaise with parliamentary authorities about remote participation in House of Commons proceedings.
Under the “hybrid” parliament arrangements, MPs can only take part in some proceedings by video-link.
A Number 10 spokesman said: “The prime minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating. He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The PM is well and does not have any symptoms of Covid-19.”
Johnson contracted the disease himself in late March, shortly after announcing the first nationwide lockdown. He initially continued to work in Downing Street, before his health worsened and he was taken into St Thomas’s hospital.
Anderson is a member of the 2019 intake, winning the previously Labour-held seat of Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire.