Covid in Downing Street: who has been affected by the virus? | Boris Johnson

With Boris Johnson forced into self-isolation once more after his encounter with the Conservative MP Lee Anderson, who has tested positive for Covid-19, No 10 has again been hit by the virus. Here, the Guardian recaps those linked to Downing Street who have either had a confirmed case of coronavirus, experienced symptoms or had to isolate in recent months.

Tested positive or had symptoms

Boris Johnson The prime minister was struck down with the virus at the outset of the pandemic in March and, after his condition worsened during isolation in Downing Street, was admitted in April to St Thomas’ hospital in London. He ended up spending three nights in intensive care and, after recovering, revealed it “could have gone either way”.

Carrie Symonds While Johnson was suffering from the virus, his fiancee, who was pregnant at the time, disclosed she was recovering after experiencing coronavirus symptoms. The 32-year-old tweeted on 4 April: “I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.”

Matt Hancock The health secretary tested positive in late March at the same time as Johnson. He said he had only mild symptoms and was continuing to work from home while self-isolating. In a video message confirming his positive case, he said: “Fortunately for me the symptoms so far have been very mild so I’ve been able to carry on with the work driving forward the UK response.”

Dominic Cummings From late March the prime minister’s most senior aide – who left his job in Downing Street last week – battled Covid symptoms in Durham, having travelled, the Guardian later revealed, more than 260 miles to get there despite the country being in lockdown.

Prof Chris Whitty England’s chief medical officer reported Covid symptoms in late March and said he was self-isolating. He tweeted on 27 March: “After experiencing symptoms compatible with Covid-19 last night, in line with the guidance, I will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days. I will be continuing to advise the government on the medical response to coronavirus, supported by my deputies.”

Sir Mark Sedwill In May it emerged that Sedwill, then the UK’s most senior civil servant, had Covid-19 at about the same time as Johnson, Hancock and Whitty. Sedwill, who stood down in September, was working at home throughout his illness but No 10 did not reveal at the time he had tested positive in April.

Prof Neil Ferguson The epidemiologist, whose modelling helped shape Britain’s coronavirus lockdown strategy, self-isolated in March after developing Covid symptoms. “Sigh. Developed a slight dry but persistent cough yesterday and self-isolated even though I felt fine. Then developed high fever at 4am today. There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster,” he tweeted on 18 March. In May, Ferguson quit as a government adviser after flouting lockdown rules by receiving visits from his lover at home.

From left: Lia Nici, Chris Whitty, Andy Carter, Matt Hancock and Maria Miller
From left: Lia Nici, Chris Whitty, Andy Carter, Matt Hancock and Maria Miller. Composite: Twitter/@lia_nici, Getty, Facebook, PA

Had to isolate from this weekend

Boris Johnson (again) The prime minister, 56, has had to self-isolate again after holding a 35-minute meeting at No 10 on Thursday with Tory MPs including Anderson, who tested positive over the weekend. Johnson has said he is fine and that his body “is bursting with antibodies”.

Lia Nici On Monday morning the MP for Great Grimsby confirmed she had been contacted by NHS test and trace after being at the same meeting. She tweeted: “As a result I will be self-isolating in line with the rules. I currently have no symptoms and will be working from home.”

Brendan Clarke-Smith The MP for Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, which had the biggest swing from Labour to the Tories in the country last year, confirmed he was self-isolating. He retweeted the prime minister’s message announcing he was self-isolating, adding, in reference to a line from the 1990 film Ghost: “In the words of Patrick Swayze … ‘Ditto’.”

Andy Carter The MP for Warrington South, who was also at the No 10 meeting, confirmed on Twitter he was self-isolating, writing: “I had a call from test and trace yesterday following a work meeting at 10 Downing Street last Thursday. In line with the rules I am self-isolating.”

Katherine Fletcher Writing on Facebook, the MP for South Ribble in Lancashire wrote: “I have been contacted by NHS test and trace following a work meeting in 10 Downing Street with the prime minister last week. I will now self-isolate at home in Lancashire in line with the rules.”

Chris Clarkson The MP for Heywood and Middleton added his name to the list of Tories self-isolating, tweeting: “Yesterday I was contacted by NHS test and trace following a work meeting in 10 Downing Street with the prime minister last week. I will now self-isolate in line with the rules.”

Maria Miller The former Tory minister, who sat next to Anderson in the House of Commons chamber on Wednesday, is also reportedly self-isolating.

Jacob Young Separately, the MP for Redcar, who the prime minister’s spokesman has confirmed was not at Thursday’s meeting, announced on Monday that he was self-isolating. He wrote on Facebook: “Yesterday, I got an email from NHS test and trace saying I have to self-isolate until next Wednesday (25th) as I am a contact of someone who has tested positive. I will continue to work for my constituents during my isolation. But rather than asking questions from the green benches, I’ll be doing it from my kitchen.”

Matt Vickers The Conservative MP for Stockton South, in Cleveland in the north-east, confirmed that he was self-isolating. He said he had been contacted by NHS test and trace after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19, without specifying who it was. He tweeted on Monday: “I must self-isolate in line with the rules but will continue to work from home.”


Marco Longhi The MP for Dudley North, in the West Midlands, also indicated he was self-isolating. On Monday Longhi shared a video on his Facebook page from the prime minister explaining he had been instructed to self-isolate by test and trace, adding his own message: “I’m afraid I had the same text, but will carry on working from home. #keepgoing”.

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