U.K. Health Minister Tests Positive for Coronavirus Days After No. 10 Visit

Robert Hutton

(Bloomberg) --

A U.K. minister of health, Nadine Dorries, has become the first British member of parliament to test positive for coronavirus.

She’s reported to have attended a reception with Prime Minister Boris Johnson the day before she fell ill, and had met hundreds of people in Parliament that week. The Times reported she 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,” she said in a statement. “Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.”

Dorries is known as a best-selling novelist, and once appeared on the hit television show “I’m a Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here!”

The news of her infection brings the virus threat to Johnson’s doorstep, literally: Dorries had attended a reception in 10 Downing Street on Thursday, according to the Times.

So far the prime minister has enjoyed solid support for his approach of urging people to live their lives as normal, and simply wash their hands more. But an infection in Parliament -- a hard-to-clean 19th century building where where MPs sit crammed in together -- will to pressure on him to take tougher action.

Britain 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net, Flavia Krause-Jackson

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