Chris Whitty shows coronavirus symptoms as Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock test positive | UK | News

The news comes on the same day that Prime minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive for the disease. Professor Whitty has been leading the Government’s medical response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Prof Whitty, a 53-year-old consultant physician and epidemiologist, has appeared alongside Mr Johnson at the Government’s daily briefings on the crisis.

Posting on Twitter, he said: “I will be continuing to advise the Government on the medical response to Coronavirus, supported by my deputies.”

The news comes after Britain saw its biggest day-on-day rise in deaths since the outbreak began.

A total of 759 people have now died in UK hospitals after being diagnosed with coronavirus, while 113,777 have tested positive. Hundreds of thousands more people are thought to be infected.

The jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the UK from 578 to 759 is an increase of 181 – the biggest day-on-day rise and a 31 percent jump on the figures released yesterday.

The Prime Minister and Health Secretary are both self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.

Mr Johnson, who has a high temperature and persistent cough, said he would still lead the “national fightback” against the virus from his flat above Number 11.

Mr Johnson and Mr Hancock have been working closely with Prof Whitty and also deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

Sir Patrick tweeted that he has experienced no symptoms and has therefore not been tested.

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Downing Street insisted the advice on social distancing had been observed in Number 10 but some scientists were critical of the fact the House of Commons has largely stayed “open for business”, enabling the virus to spread.

Professor Susan Michie, director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London, said: “Whilst the PM was telling people to stay at home and keep at least two metres apart from each other, the House of Commons was open for business and face-to-face parliamentary activities were carrying on.

“Given the transmission routes of touching contaminated surfaces and breathing in virus-laden droplets, it should not come as a surprise to hear that the PM and Health Secretary have tested positive for coronavirus.

“There are many reasons why those in leadership positions, including in Government, should practise what they preach.”

In a video message posted to Twitter, Mr Johnson said: “I’m 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.

“I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS staff.”

More to follow…

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