BORIS Johnson said today he feels as “fit as a butcher’s dog” after he and six others were forced to self-isolate when they met an MP who now has Covid.
The PM nearly died after catching the coronavirus earlier this year, but will still have to isolate again as required by law.
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NHS Test and Trace told him yesterday he must stay home to stop the chances of catching the disease again and spreading it to more people.
It came after a meeting he had with Mansfield MP Lee Anderson last Thursday – along with other colleagues.
At least six other Tory MPs – Lia Nici, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Katherine Fletcher, Chris Clarkson and Andy Carter – are isolating this morning after the meeting.
Jacob Young MP is also isolating today – but it’s not clear if he attended the same meeting.
In a video tweet this morning the PM said that he “feels great” and is “bursting with antibodies”.
But he told his colleagues the rules are the rules and he will abide by them.
There is not yet enough evidence to say that someone who has had coronavirus won’t get it again.
The PM is hoping to take part in Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons virtually, Number 10 said.
And he will speak to MPs at the Northern Reform Group tonight in an attempt to repair relations with his backbenchers.
It came as:
Mr Johnson also hit back at criticism for not wearing a mask when meeting the group – by saying they all “followed social distancing” rules.
Mr Anderson posted a snap of himself with the PM last week – appearing to be around a metre apart.
The Prime Minister stressed that the UK now has “two gigantic boxing gloves to wallop the disease into submission” – mass testing and a prospect of a vaccine, which he hopes could be rolled out “before Christmas”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said today that social distancing was in place at the meeting.
They said: “Social distancing was observed at the meeting. It is also the case that Number 10 is a Covid-secure workplace.
“We take every possible step to ensure that hand sanitiser is made available to people as soon as they arrive at the building and it is available throughout the building as you travel through it.
“Factors such as the length of the meeting meant that it was the advice of Test and Trace that the Prime Minister should self-isolate and he of course will follow that instruction.”
Asked about a photograph showing Mr Johnson and infected MP Lee Anderson standing less than two metres apart, the spokesman said: “They are stood side-by-side, rather than face-to-face.
“I wasn’t present in the room myself but just to repeat the two points: Number 10 is a Covid-secure workplace and also social distancing was observed in the meeting.”
Northern MPs will tonight demand a “clear route out of lockdown” during a virtual meeting with the PM.
Boris will speak to MPs on the Northern Reform Group but will appear online instead.
Jake Berry, who leads the group told Times Radio: “We need a clear route out of lockdown.
“Many northern communities have been in some form of lockdown since March, with no time off for good behaviour.
“We need a way out of lockdown for northern people in northern businesses.”
MPs will also be pushing for a Northern recovery plan in areas ravaged by the pandemic, and extra infrastructure too.
Who is isolating in Government over coronavirus fears?
- Lee Anderson – tested positive over the weekend
- Boris Johnson – attended meeting with Lee Anderson on Thursday
- Lia Nicci – attended meeting with PM and Anderson
- Andy Carter – attended meeting with PM and Anderson
- Katherine Fletcher – attended meeting with PM and Anderson
- Brendan Clarke-Smith – attended meeting with PM and Anderson
- Chris Clarkson- isolating after meeting with PM and Anderson
- Jacob Young – isolating but unclear who he met
- 2 x Unknown No10 aides who were present at Thursday’s meeting
‘I FEEL GREAT’
Mr Johnson said this morning: “Hi folks, the good news is that NHS Test and Trace is working ever more efficiently.
“The bad news is they’ve pinged me and I’ve got to self-isolate because somebody I was in contact with a few days ago has developed Covid.
“It doesn’t matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn’t matter that I’m fit as a butcher’s dog and feel great.
“It doesn’t matter that I’ve had the disease and I’m bursting with antibodies, we’ve got to interrupt the spread of the disease.
“One of the ways we can do that is to self-isolate for 14 days when you get contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
“I do it with a high heart, full of optimism and confidence.
It doesn’t matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn’t matter that I’m fit as a butcher’s dog and feel great.”
“Because don’t forget, we not only have this technique for interrupting the transmission of Covid.
“But we also now have two gigantic boxing gloves with which to wallop our foe into submission, mass lateral flow testing, rapid turnaround testing of a kind that this country is leading the way in.
“We’ve got tens of millions of these tests already and of course the prospect of a vaccine which I hope we’ll be able to start distributing to those who really need it, perhaps even before Christmas.
“That’s the way forward, I’m absolutely confident we can beat this disease.”
The PM does not have coronavirus symptoms but came into close enough contact the MP passed on his details to test and trace.
‘BURSTING WITH ANTIBODIES’
Scientists say testing positive may not guarantee immunity from getting the virus again – as the antibodies may not last for long.
The dramatic development comes at a torrid time — following the resignations of aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain ahead of make-or-break Brexit trade talks this week.
He was due to use this week to “reset” relationships with MPs and the public.
Boris was expected to hold a Downing Street press conference today – but Matt Hancock will now take his place.
The PM told the Tory WhatsApp group last night: “It doesn’t matter that I feel fine — better than ever… because I have already had the damn thing.
“The rules are the rules and they are there to stop the spread of the disease.”
“Will this slow me down or in any way impede my work over the next few days? Of course not.”
Mr Anderson’s wife, who is in the shielded group, has tested positive as well.
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