Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have both been contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Originally the two were not going to be self-isolating, according to a statement from Downing Street – however, this decision has been overturned following public backlash.
Tested positive for Covid-19
The announcement follows the disclosure on Saturday that Health Secretary Sajid Javid had been confirmed as testing positive for the virus.
Johnson and Sunak had originally planned to take daily tests rather than self-isolate following meetings last week with Javid who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Initially, a No 10 spokesperson said: “They will be conducting only essential government business during this period.”
However, it has now been revealed that the two will in fact be self isolating.
In a new statement, a No 10 spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace to say he is a contact of someone with Covid.
"He was at Chequers when contacted by Test and Trace and will remain there to isolate. He will not be taking part in the testing pilot.
“He will continue to conduct meetings with ministers remotely. The Chancellor has also been contacted and will also isolate as required and will not be taking part in the pilot.”
Sunak tweeted: “Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren’t the same for everyone is wrong.
“To that end I’ll be self-isolating as normal and not taking part in the pilot.”
Health Secretary ‘working from home’
The Health Secretary confirmed that he tested positive for the virus just over a day before lockdown restrictions are set to be lifted across England.
In a message posted to Twitter Javid said: “My positive result has now been confirmed by PCR test, so I will continue to isolate and work from home.”
He said he had taken a lateral flow test on Saturday morning after feeling “a bit groggy” the evening before.
He said he had recorded the positive result, despite having had both doses of the vaccine, but was only experiencing “mild” symptoms.
‘No-one is safe from the deadly virus’
The timing could hardly have been worse for the Government, with scientists voicing increasing concern at the idea of ending all statutory legal controls while Covid cases continue to surge.
The Liberal Democrats said that Javid’s positive test underlined the case for the Government to rethink its plans.
Health spokeswoman Munira Wilson said: “This shows no-one is safe from this deadly virus.
“By easing all restrictions with cases surging, they are experimenting with people’s lives.
“Right now, they are pursuing a strategy of survival of the fittest, where the young and clinically vulnerable will be left defenceless.”
Johnson has repeatedly said he wants the lifting of lockdown to be “irreversible”, but in recent days ministers have begun to sound more cautious.
While social-distancing rules in England will come to an end, Government guidelines advise face masks should still be worn in enclosed spaces such as in shops and on public transport, while pubs and bars should be table service only.
Additional reporting by PA