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10 Mar, 2020 22:51

Health minister Nadine Dorries tests positive for coronavirus days after meeting with PM Johnson

Health minister Nadine Dorries tests positive for coronavirus days after meeting with PM Johnson

Tory MP Nadine Dorries has been diagnosed with COVID-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus sweeping Asia, Europe and the Americas – less than a week after attending a reception with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The representative from Mid Bedfordshire – who is also a health official that helped to draft legislation to address the fast-moving virus – was confirmed to have the illness on Tuesday evening, after falling ill late last week. 

“I can confirm I have tested positive for Coronavirus,” Dorries said in a statement. “As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self isolating at home.”

Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.

Last week, Dorries, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, attended a reception at 10 Downing Street hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to mark International Women’s Day, and has since come into contact with hundreds of people in Parliament, including several MPs. It is unknown whether the 62-year-old minister spread the illness to any others, but health officials are now working to trace anyone who may have come into contact with her, running tests on those displaying symptoms of the virus. 

“As with everything, we are being guided by the science on this,” one government official told The Times under condition of anonymity. “This will be treated like any other standard case. Officials are conducting the standard process of contact tracing and identifying anyone who has shown symptoms.”

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The UK has confirmed over 380 cases of the lethal virus – with six fatalities – which has infected nearly 119,000 people and killed more than 4,200 worldwide. While the outbreak began in China’s Hubei province, major flare-ups have since emerged in Japan, South Korea, Iran and Italy, with confirmed cases in over 100 countries total.

A number of other politicians around the world have contracted the virus, including at least 24 officials in Iran and one party leader in Italy. Seven US lawmakers, meanwhile, are currently under self-isolation after potentially coming into contact with an infected individual at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.

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