“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. Together we will beat this,” Johnson wrote.
In a video, Johnson said he was experiencing a temperature and a persistent cough, which are key symptoms of the virus, and that he took a test on the advice of the country’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty.
“I’ve taken a test. That has come out positive,” he said, adding that he was working from home and self-isolating. “And that’s 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 said.
A government spokesperson said that the test was carried out in Downing Street by staff from the NHS, the country’s public healthcare system.
Johnson joins a long list of government officials around the world who have been infected with the coronavirus. Few heads of government, however, have contracted it.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock also confirmed Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
In the event that Johnson is unable to fulfill all his duties as prime minister, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would be expected to stand in his place.
Raab previously served as Brexit Secretary under the government led by Theresa May. He stepped down after the UK and EU agreed on a draft Brexit deal, which he claimed had “fatal flaws.”
The positive test comes just two days after the 71-year-old Prince Charles, heir to the throne, tested positive.
Johnson last met with Queen Elizabeth II on March 11, Buckingham Palace said Friday.
“The Queen last saw the PM on the 11th March and is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare,” the palace said in a statement.
The development also comes just over a week after a top government adviser on the virus, Neil Ferguson, said he believed he had been infected and warned: “There is a lot of Covid-19 in Westminster.”
Ferguson had met with the Prime Minister, as well as Whitty, and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance. It was not clear, however, where Johnson may have contracted the virus.
The infection also raises concerns over Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant.