British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, 24 hours after beginning to show mild symptoms. The 55-year-old confirmed his diagnosis via Twitter on March 27, making him the first major political figure from a superpower country to contract the deadly virus. In his post, Johnson reassure citizens that he would continue to work on serving the people while in quarantine.
Johnson’s last public appearance was on Thursday in front of his private residence, where he congratulated health workers on their efforts to combat the virus.
The United Kingdom’s Health Minister Matt Hancock, as well as heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, have also tested positive for COVID-19 after showing mild symptoms. England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has also shown been reported to show symptoms. Whitty himself has implemented the protocol to require COVID-19 testing for key senior figures in Parliament.
According to NBC, The Prince and the Prime Minister have received extensive backlash through social media as the public has been questioning celebrities and political figures for acquiring test kits while health workers are struggling to get tested. The government has also been criticized due to its lack of transparency in handling the pandemic. In the wake of criticism, Parliament announced plans for a large-scale testing program for health workers, according to BBC.
According to Minister Hancock, Britain has purchased 3.5 million anti-body testing kits, which are yet to be distributed to patients. He has also declared the addition of more than 30,000 beds to assist coronavirus patients in hospitals throughout the country.
The United Kingdom’s Department of Health and Social Care claims to have already tested nearly 100,000 British citizens -a record-setting number in Europe- while also planning to increase its daily testing capacity to 25,000. British Parliament has worked rigorously to combat the virus, with Prime Minister Johnson chairing daily briefings pertaining to the ongoing crisis. As of this week, Britain has reached approximately 15,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 800 deaths.
Political leaders throughout the globe, including President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and German Chancellor Merkel, are taking precautions through self-isolation and frequent monitoring and testing, according to USA Today. Mr. Johnson last met with the Queen on March 11, who currently remains in good health and in isolation while her son recovers from the virus.
While the Prime Minister appears to be in sufficient health while in recovery, British protocol remains in place; if Mr. Johnson becomes too ill to run the country, Foreign Affairs Minister Dominic Raab would temporarily assume his role as leader of the United Kingdom. Seeing the vast extent of the damages caused by this virus, countries need to come together and find conclusive solutions for the welfare of the entire planet.