Related video: Health secretary Sajid Javid tests positive for Covid
The health secretary announced late on Saturday a full PCR test had confirmed the result of an earlier rapid lateral flow test that he has contracted the virus, meaning a number of ministers and senior officials may be confined to their homes just as lockdown restrictions in England end on Monday.
The prime minister was reported to have had a lengthy meeting with Mr Javid in No 10 on Friday, but Downing Street is yet to not comment on suggestions that Mr Johnson would be among those required to quarantine.
It comes as former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has been drafted in to present a programme on the GB News channel amid stubbornly dismal ratings.
Lib Dems say Javid infection boosts case to delay unlocking
The Liberal Democrats are arguing that Sajid Javid’s positive test underlines the case for the government to rethink its plans to unlock fully from Monday.
The party’s 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.”
Tom Batchelor18 July 2021 08:08
PM could be hit by ‘pingdemic’ as Javid tests positive for Covid
Boris Johnson could join the hundreds of thousands caught by the “pingdemic” and told to self-isolate, after health secretary Sajid Javid revealed he has tested positive for coronavirus.
It is understood that Mr Javid held a lengthy meeting with the prime minister in 10 Downing Street on Friday, just hours before “feeling groggy” in the evening.
He underwent a rapid-turnaround lateral flow test on Saturday morning, which said he was suffering from Covid-19 infection, despite having received two vaccine jabs. The health secretary later said on Saturday evening the results had been confirmed by a PCR test.
The positive result sparked a new Covid scare at the heart of government.
But as our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports, face-to-face meetings inside Downing Street are routinely conducted in accordance with social distancing guidelines, so it is possible that the PM may avoid being identified as a contact.
Tom Batchelor18 July 2021 07:58
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of political events on Sunday as senior members of government wait to hear whether they will spend their self-described “Freedom Day” tomorrow behind closed doors.
Tom Batchelor18 July 2021 07:55