UK health secretary self-isolating after coronavirus contact

Uk Health Secretary Self-Isolating After Coronavirus Contact Uk Health Secretary Self-Isolating After Coronavirus Contact
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, © PA Media
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By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

The UK's health secretary Matt Hancock has said he is self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

He said he was alerted by the NHS app on Monday evening, having led a Downing Street press conference.

“Last night I was pinged by the NHS coronavirus app, so that means I will be self-isolating at home, not leaving the house at all until Sunday,” he said in a video on his Twitter on Tuesday morning.

“This self-isolation is perhaps the most important part of all the social distancing because I know from the app that I’ve been in close contact with somebody who’s tested positive, and this is how we break the chains of transmission.

“I’ve got to work from home for the next six days and together, by doing this, by following this and all the other panoply of rules that we’ve had to put in place, we can get through this and beat this virus.”

Mr Hancock must quarantine despite having tested positive for Covid-19 in March, announcing his diagnosis shortly after British prime minister Boris Johnson revealed his own.

It is understood that the health secretary was given the duration of his isolation period by the NHS app.

The health service’s website says the isolation period includes the day the individual was last in contact with the person who tested positive and the next 10 full days.

It was not clear from his statement whether the quarantine period ends on Sunday or Monday, but the timescale suggests Mr Hancock’s contact with the individual was on Wednesday or Thursday.

He also did not make clear what time he received the order to self-isolate on Monday.

That evening he appeared at the No 10 press conference alongside NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis and Public Health England’s Susan Hopkins.

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