The 55-year-old leader said he'll continue to govern while self-isolating

By Benjamin VanHoose
March 27, 2020 08:18 AM
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Friday morning, the British leader, 55, shared his diagnosis on Twitter, writing that he noticed symptoms in the past day.

“Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus,” Johnson tweeted. “I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives”

With the message, Johnson also posted a video address to his followers, describing his symptoms of a fever and “persistent cough.” He also continued to thank first responders and citizens for working together during the pandemic.

“I want to thank everyone who’s working to keep our country going … we will get through it, and the way we’re going to get through it is, of course, by applying the measures we’ve heard so much about,” he said in the clip. “The more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this [pandemic] and the faster we’ll bounce back.”

On Wednesday, Johnson had his weekly meeting with Queen Elizabeth. The 93-year-old monarch’s meeting with the PM took place via telephone in order to practice social distancing.

Julian Simmonds/The Daily Telegraph/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Earlier this month, Johnson announced that he is engaged and expecting a child. A spokesperson for Johnson confirmed his upcoming wedding to Carrie Symonds, 31, telling The Telegraph: “The Prime Minister and Ms Symonds are very pleased to announce their engagement and that they are expecting a baby in the early summer.”

Symonds is a former communications director with the U.K.’s Conservative Party, which Johnson has been the leader of since mid-2019 when he took over as Britain’s prime minister and helped push the country toward “Brexit.”

The country’s intensely polarizing and protracted separation from the European Union was finalized at the end of January.

Johnson finalized his divorce from 55-year-old Marina Wheeler in February. The couple was married for 25 years before they announced their separation in September 2018, according to the BBC.

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According to data compiled by The New York Times, the U.K. has a total of 11,658 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 578 deaths as of March 27.

On Thursday, the United States surpassed a death toll of 1,000, and the U.S. topped China to become the country with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 85,000 reported.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.