The Slatest

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tests Positive for the Coronavirus

Boris Johnson stands in an office, talking on a telephone.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks on the telephone on Wednesday. WPA Pool/Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Friday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus after experiencing mild symptoms. Johnson said in a video Friday that he has “a temperature and persistent cough.” Downing Street says Johnson will self-isolate but remain in charge of the government and its response to the outbreak. “I am working from home, I’m self-isolating, and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” Johnson said. The U.K. now has more than 11,000 recorded cases of the virus and nearly 600 deaths.

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Johnson is the highest-profile world leader to acknowledge contracting the virus and his infection shows the extent of the coronavirus’s reach. German leader Angela Merkel went into self-quarantine earlier this week when a doctor she had recently interacted with tested positive for the virus. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, says he took two tests that both came back negative after reports that a top aide had contracted the virus after a trip to Mar-a-Lago as well as rumors Bolsonaro had also contracted it.

In the U.K., Johnson has faced criticism for the country’s scattershot early response to the outbreak, particularly his government’s controversial and questionable initial plan to allow the virus to circulate unchecked for an extended period of time, infecting millions of Britons, in an effort to generate a “herd immunity.” Johnson now joins that herd.

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