UK PM Tests Positive for Covid-19

The PM and the Health Minister have both tested positve.

The BBC reports: Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive

Mr Johnson said he had developed mild symptoms over the past 24 hours, including a temperature and cough.

He is self-isolating in Downing Street but said he will “continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus”.

Following Mr Johnson’s announcement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock also said he had tested positive for the virus.

Mr Hancock said his symptoms were also mild and he was working from home and self-isolating.

Other details:

Earlier this week the prime minister’s spokesman said if Mr Johnson was unwell and unable to work, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, as the first secretary of state, would stand in.


The prime minister’s fiancée Carrie Symonds, who is several months pregnant, is also self-isolating, although it is not known if they are still living together.

In regards to the Queen:

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed the Queen, 93, saw Mr Johnson more than two weeks ago on 11 March, and she is in good health.

The pair usually meet weekly for the prime minister’s audience with the Queen, but the most recent meetings have been over the phone.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. James Joyner says:

    While one certainly wishes both a full and speedy recovery, one also can’t help but have “herd immunity” in the back of one’s mind.

  2. @James Joyner: Indeed.

  3. Kathy says:


  4. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:
    Apparently shaking hands with COVID-19 patients *isn’t* the best strategy…

  5. gVOR08 says:

    In actually important news from the UK Neil Ferguson who speaks for the Imperial College modeling team says it looks like suppression is working and they’re on track for something like only 20,000 dead. That would translate to about 40,000 in the US, although I don’t know how their suppression compares to our less than 100% effort.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    I think Johnson is an ass and made big mistakes with his herd immunity attempt. But I put him in a different category than people like Rand Paul and the governor of Mississippi. The first is so blinded by his ideology and malice he cannot process new information, and the second displays the callous disregard for human life of a misanthrope. The latter reminds me of the owners of the triangle shirtwaist factory with their views about the valuelessness of the surplus population. Johnson, on the other hand, appears to be trying to do the right thing but is simply not up to the job.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah. Boris Johnson is a twit who pushed Brexit as a path to Downing Street for himself. But in response to the Imperial College report he did seem to go all in on suppressing the spread of the virus. Of course unlike Trump he didn’t have Federalism to fall back on as an excuse.

    However, I’m unconvinced by your distinction between Little Randy and the Guv. As with most conservative dichotomies, are not both both?

  8. denspark says:


    Well it’s rather unlikely Johnson came up with the british strategy, which at the start was reasonable. They were pushing for social distancing and isolation from the beginning to keep the infection rate as low and as extended as possible and were clear they’d be bringing in harder lackdown policies later on when required. The original strategy had been based around data from asia but when more data came in from other countries then they modified the original strategy.

    I think they believed ,probably rightly,that if they went down the lockdown route too early then there would be issues with maintaining it if there was still a small no of cases and without full public support.

    The whole reason they brought in lockdown on monday was that too many people were treating the situation as some of sort of holiday and heading to off to national parks and socialising.

    The governments trouble was , someone used the phrase ‘herd immunity’ and the press fastened onto that as if the UK governments policy was to do nothing and let people die.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Yeah, that was poorly written on my part. I was attempting to lump Paul and the plantation governor into the same category.

  10. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “Johnson, on the other hand, appears to be trying to do the right thing but is simply not up to the job.”

    I couldn’t disagree more strongly. Johnson is a man completely without any core beliefs, aside from his own interests. It’s why he can be an effective conservative PM — because it costs him nothing to spend huge amounts of money on infrastructure projects, because even though he is technically a Tory he has no actual beliefs. He promoted his insane herd immunity idea because he didn’t care about all the people who would die, and backed off it when he realized it was making him unpopular.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    Johnson isn’t that much different than Tiny, but he is smarter and quicker to change direction when he realizes he has started down the path to failure.