UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first major world leader known to have contracted the disease.
Johnson, 55, said in a video posted to Twitter that he had developed “a temperature and a persistent cough,” and that he would self-isolate at home.
“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 fight back against coronavirus,” Johnson said.
Johnson was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday on the advice of England’s chief medical officer after experiencing “mild symptoms” of the virus, a spokesman for No. 10 Downing Street confirmed in a statement.
“The test was carried out in No 10 by [National Health Service] staff and the result of the test was positive,” the spokesman said. “In keeping with the guidance, the Prime Minister is self-isolating in Downing Street.”
“He is continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus,” the spokesman said.
Johnson’s diagnosis offers one of the most potent examples yet of how the deadly and highly transmissible coronavirus has permeated life around the world and at every level of society.
Two days earlier, it was revealed that Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, had tested positive for the disease. The 71-year-old prince of Wales began displaying mild symptoms over the weekend.
The coronavirus has hit home for other world leaders, as well.
Earlier in March, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tested positive for the virus. The prime minister said he would isolate himself for two weeks as a precaution.
President Donald Trump and other top members of his administration, such as Vice President Mike Pence, have said they tested negative for the coronavirus. But the devastating economic impact of the draconian efforts being imposed to try to contain the spread of the disease has taken a toll on Trump’s business empire: Trump Organization properties, Palm Beach resort, Mar-a-Lago, have shuttered their doors in the peak of their seasons.
The virus, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has quickly spread to more than 150 countries.
More than 533,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, including at least 24,082 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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