UK health minister Nadine Dorries tests positive for Coronavirus

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2020

File Photo of Britain's Conservative MP Nadine Dorries.   -  Reuters

UK’s Health minister and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been diagnosed with coronavirus, stoking fear of the novel virus' potential spread. She had attended an event last week where the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was also one of the guests.

She had attended a reception last week at Westminster, apart from a Downing Street reception for International Women’s Day where Boris Johnson, and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, were among guests present, reported The Guardian.

Incidentally, she had signed a document last week that declared coronavirus a notifiable disease, meaning companies could obtain insurance cover, The Times reported.

In a statement released by the Department of Health and Social Care DHSC, the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005, said, “I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus. As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home.”

According to The Guardian report, a DHSC spokeswoman said that Dorries has been self-isolating at home since Friday, and is understood to be recovering. The identity of the person who infected her is unknown, The Guardian report said. The focus will now fall on tracking down and testing the potentially hundreds of people Dorries have been in contact with in the past week, both in parliament and at the health department, it said.

The Guardian report also said that this is in the backdrop of speculation that the parliament could be suspended to curb the spread of coronavirus among MPs, peers and staff, but that Downing Street had played down this idea.

A spokesman cited by The Guardian said there were still no plans to suspend parliament to prevent the spread of the virus. “We are closely following guidance from Public Health England (PHE) in response to the situation and have been reassured that the measures we are taking are proportionate and appropriate,” he said.

At present there are no plans to suspend parliament, he added. “Changes to the way parliament functions would be a matter for consultation between the Speakers, the government and the parliamentary authorities,” he further stated.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK stands at 373, and six people have died due to this, according to another report in The Guardian.

Published on March 11, 2020

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