Did Boris Johnson come into contact with a staff member who has Covid - and should he self-isolate?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Fraserburgh Harbour, Aberdeenshire, as he journeys to the Moray Offshore Windfarm East during his visit to Scotland. Picture date: Thursday August 5, 2021.  Jane Barlow/PA
Credit: PA

Downing Street has denied reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson came into contact with a staff member who tested positive for Covid-19.

During his visit to Scotland from Wednesday to Thursday, Mr Johnson on several occasions was sitting "side-by-side" with a Number 10 civil servant who later had to self-isolate after testing positive for the virus, according to a Guardian report on Friday.

The newspaper said the prime minister is not self-isolating, despite the close contact and despite other close contacts of the staff member being told to self-isolate.

Sky News later claimed the PM is understood to have shared the same plane as the person.

A Number 10 spokesperson denied Mr Johnson was a close contact: "The Prime Minister regularly visits communities across the UK and all aspects of visits are carried out in line with Covid guidance.

"The Prime Minister has not come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive."

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The Labour Party described the reported incident as “another example of one rule for them and another for everyone else”.

Anneliese Dodds said: “It’s clear the Prime Minister hasn’t learned anything from what happened last time he tried to cook up a reason to be above the rules everyone else has to follow."

The Labour Party Chair is referring to when Downing Street initially said the PM and Rishi Sunak were exempt from isolating after having contact with Sajid Javid who had tested positive for the virus.

Number 10 said the pair were part of a pilot scheme that exempted them, before making a sharp U-turn following furious backlash.

"Senior Conservatives are really taking the public for fools. This is yet another example of one rule for them and another for everyone else," Ms Dodds added.

Boris Johnson during a visit to the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan near Kincardine, Fife, during his visit to Scotland. Credit: James Glossop/The Times/PA

Current rules mean that everyone must self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

From August 16, the rules will change and allow close contacts who are fully vaccinated to avoid having to isolate.