Boris Johnson 'fit as a butcher's dog' as he continues to self-isolate

The PM said he was bursting with antibodies as he had Covid before, but stills need to self-isolate. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson says he's "fit as a butcher's dog" as he self-isolates after coming into contact with an MP who tested positive for Covid-19.

The prime minister released a video on his Twitter account on Monday morning saying he was “in good health” and that he has “no symptoms”.

He later told his Number 10 staff in a virtual address that the government's ambition is "absolutely undimmed and, if anything, growing the whole time".

Mr Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus in April, said he was notified by NHS Test and Trace on Sunday that he must self-isolate, after his meeting with Tory MP Lee Anderson who has since tested positive for coronavirus.

“It doesn’t matter that we were all doing social distancing, it doesn’t matter that I’m fit as a butcher’s dog, feel great – so many people do in my circumstances," Mr Johnson said.

“And actually 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 and one of the ways we can do that now is by self isolating for 14 days when contacted by Test and Trace.”

The news has raised questions about the Covid-secure safety practices at Number 10, with many wondering why the PM chose to host MPs in Number 10 during lockdown on Thursday.

Northern Conservative MPs Lia Nici, Katherine Fletcher, Andy Carter, Brendan Clarke-Smith and Chris Clarkson, all attended the meeting in Downing Street and are also in self-isolation.

Downing Street insisted social distancing was "observed" at the meeting, despite all attendees now having to self-isolate.

Mr Johnson's spokesperson added: "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.

ITV News Health Editor Emily Morgan asked Matt Hancock why the MPs had been told to self isolate, if social distancing rules had been adhered to.

"If indeed they were socially distancing, then surely there is no Covid-secure environment, why are people still going into offices? she asked.

The health secretary responded: "There's Covid-secure guidelines for Downing Street as there are for every other workplace."

He added how after Mr Anderson tested positive, "contact tracing worked and was in contact then with all those who he'd been in close contact with".

"That is the system working as it should."

He earlier admitted to Sky News he does not always wear a face covering while inside as he is not always required to.

The news comes at a politically sensitive time for the prime minister after the sudden exit from Downing Street of his senior adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain.

Mr Johnson had hoped to reframe his tenure as prime minister this week, after several days of Downing Street infighting.

Number 10 had insisted Mr Johnson would present a committed policy launch on social justice, “levelling up” and coronavirus over the coming weeks.

The move was being seen by some at Westminster as a bid by the prime minister to show he was still in control of the government’s agenda.

But as the announcement was made, Mr Johnson was advised to self-isolate after attending a 35-minute meeting with a small group of MPs in Downing Street on Thursday morning.

Mr Anderson, MP for Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, said on Facebook he lost his sense of taste on Friday and, after being tested on Saturday, received a positive result on Sunday morning.

The two men were not wearing face coverings and did not appear to be two metres apart in a photo taken at Downing Street which Mr Anderson posted on Facebook.

Asked about a photograph showing Mr Johnson and infected MP Lee Anderson standing less than two metres apart, his 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."

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson alongside Prime Minister Boris Johnson Credit: Facebook/PA

Number 10 said the “critical announcements” due over the coming weeks would send a “clear signal of his ongoing ambitions for the United Kingdom” with the prime minister expected to outline plans for dealing with issues like the Covid-19 pandemic and social inequality.

It was reported on Twitter Mr Johnson is expected to continue to make public statements from inside No 10, including on the government’s green plans.

This is also a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations with the EU reach their final phase.

Downing Street said Mr Johnson will liaise with parliamentary authorities about remote participation in House of Commons proceedings.

Under the “hybrid” parliament arrangements, MPs can only take part in some proceedings by video link.

Asked if Mr Johnson would be able to take part remotely in Commons events, such as Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “I think that’s what they are trying to work through.”

It was reported Mr Johnson told Tory MPs in a WhatsApp group message that “the rules are the rules” and he must self-isolate as advised although he feels “fine” and his “body is bursting with antibodies from the last time I had it”.

Mr Johnson tested positive for Covid-19 at the end of March and was admitted to a London NHS hospital on April 5, which Downing Street said was a “precautionary step” as his symptoms persisted.

He then spent three nights in an intensive care unit, later revealing it “could have gone either way” and thanked NHS staff for saving his life.

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