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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a video statement posted on social media Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
The 55-year-old Conservative Party leader announced in the video that after developing mild symptoms over the last 24 hours, including “a temperature and a persistent cough,” he tested positive for COVID-19. His plan now is to work from home and self-isolate, as he encouraged others to do to continue to “protect” the National Health Service (NHS) from being overwhelmed.
“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson wrote in a tweet that includes the video statement. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this.”
“Hi, folks, I want to bring you up to to speed on something that is happening today, which is that I developed mild symptoms of coronavirus — that is to say, a temperature and a persistent cough,” Johnson announced in the video (below). “And on the advice of the chief medical officer, I have taken the test and it has come out positive.”
“So, I am working from home and self-isolating, and that’s entirely the right thing to do,” he continued. “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 fight-back against coronavirus.”
“I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS staff,” Johnson stressed. “It was very moving to join last night in that national clap for the NHS,” he said in reference to a celebration of national healthcare workers Thursday.
“But it’s not just the NHS, it’s our police, our social care workers, our teachers, everybody who works in schools, and DWP staff,” he continued. “Amazing national effort by the public services, but also by every member of the British public volunteering. Incredible response. 600,000 people volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus.”
Johnson concluded the statement by encouraging the nation that if they “stay at home and protect the NHS,” they will “beat” the epidemic and “bounce back.”
“We will get through it,” he said. “And the way we will get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you’ve heard so much about. And the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we’ll bounce back. Thank you to everybody who is doing what I’m doing and working from home to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. That’s the way we’re going to win, we’re going to beat it, and we’re going to beat it together. Stay at home and protect the NHS and save lives.”
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
Johnson’s optimistic message follows updated forecasts by British epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, one of the co-authors of the highly influential Imperial College London coronavirus model, which initially predicted that if no action were taken to curb the spread of the virus, some 500,000 people would die in the U.K. and 2.2 million would die in the U.S. With social distancing measures, like those taken by the British and American governments, Ferguson’s updated potential death toll in the U.K. has now been downgraded to 20,000 or fewer.