The United Kingdom Minister of Health, Nadine Dorries, has tested positive to corona virus. She is the first British member of parliament to test positive for the disease.
Dorries had attended a reception in 10 Downing Street including a reception with Prime Minister Boris Johnson shortly before she fell ill. She interacted with hundreds of people in Parliament and had fallen ill on Friday and her diagnosis was confirmed Monday evening. “As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home. Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice, she said in a statement.” The UK has a total of 382 confirmed cases. The UK was already moving from its “contain” phase, where the government tries to stop coronavirus from spreading to it’s “delay” phase, where the government accepts the disease will become widespread.
Meanwhile, NHS England said it was scaling up its capacity for testing people for the infection, with the number of cases set to rise. Confirmation of any positive test results will also be accelerated with most people getting a result back within 24 hours. The 62-year-old, who began her career as a nurse, later tweeted that it had been “pretty rubbish but I hope I’m over the worst of it now”. But she added she was worried about her 84-year-old mother who was staying with her and began to cough on Tuesday. It is not known how many meetings Dorries had attended at Westminster or in her constituency in recent days. The Department of Health confirmed she had been self-isolating since Friday but No 10 did not comment on whether Boris Johnson had undergone testing, or whether he will now be tested. All health ministers, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, are to undergo testing for the virus, along with other officials who have come into contact with Dorries. Public Health England has already carried out more than 25,000 coronavirus tests across the UK. NHS chief scientific officer Prof Dame Sue Hill said the health service was preparing to cope with more cases. “Every hospital across the country, and the healthcare professionals who run them, are now actively planning to respond flexibly to manage new demand.” Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be expected to roll out their own testing services, but there will be some shared capacity between nations, depending on need.