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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 27, 2020 11:00am-1:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. in the past few minutes, spain reports that the number of deaths from coronavirus increases by 769 st by to over 4,800. america passes china and italy to record the highest number of covid—19 cases, 83,500. president trump says it shows the us health services are working. it's a tribute to the amount wintry showers of testing that we're doing, we're doing tremendous testing and i'm sure you're not this is how the weekend shapes up. able to tell what china is testing or not testing. i think that's a little hard. by this is how the weekend shapes up. by this stage, nothing more than a in a telephone call, china's president offers the us leader help band of cloud but notice the squeeze in the fight against coronavirus. in the isobars, indicating the
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strength of the wind and it is a don't move home — the uk government urges house buyers and sellers cold wind, coming from the to put off completion north—east. it will be blowing until after the across the whole of the uk coronavirus outbreak. throughout the weekend, temperatures retired metropolitan police officers up throughout the weekend, temperatures up to 16 or17 are being asked to consider throughout the weekend, temperatures up to 16 or 17 celsius for most of returning to work to help us, back into single figures by cope with coronavirus. firefighters are to take sunday. saturday at day of sunny on new roles, such as driving spells, variable amounts of cloud ambulances or delivering food, and wintry showers, particularly for alongside their currentjobs. eastern counties of scotland and angler, could bring some rain, the bbc understands that guidance sleet, maybe some snow over higher on when british health workers need to wear personal protective equipment will be updated "within 48 hours". ground, scraping single figures, add on the strength of the wind and it "your country loves you." will be even colder. as we go through the early hours of sunday morning, of course the clocks go the uk comes together forward. the sort of british in an emotional thank you to national health service summertime but come sunday it will and care workers be feeling even colder because the battling coronavirus. wind will be, sunday will be a cloudy day compared to saturday, particularly western counties, parts of wales and northern ireland, the
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strength of the wind will be noticeable on sunday. gusts of 30 or in the past few minutes, 1:0 noticeable on sunday. gusts of 30 or a0 miles an ever particularly for it's been announced that the number eastern and some channel coasts. of deaths from coronavirus in spain temperatures at best eight or nine has climbed by 769 in 2a hours, celsius but i dawn the strength of the wind and it will feel even to more than 4,800. colder. for some, close spain has extended its lockdown for at least another two weeks, the wind and it will feel even colder. forsome, close to the wind and it will feel even colder. for some, close to zero, as hospitals come under increasing quite a change. little change through the week, mainly dry but pressure , with heathworkers cold, some sunshine, and the chance complaining about a lack of equipment. of some of those wintry showers. nurses in madrid goodbye. expressed their fears. translation: the old people tell you in tears to move them to a bed. but who do you decide to move? this is a selection, like in a war. translation: you feel very lonely and then you come home and you are alone. you keep thinking and thinking, and it is hard to rest. translation: you go home with the images in your head of everything you see here. it's very difficult to disconnect. it's impossible.
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latest figures from the us suggest the coronavirus has now latest figures show that the united states now has more confirmed cases of covid—i9 than any other country. the us has recorded more than 85 thousand positive cases. president trump has previously caused anger in beijing by referring to the "chinese virus" — but he and china's leader xijinping have held a phone call, expressing a common willingness to work together. president xi is reported to have offered to provide support to the us. according to chinese state media, he said that "working together brings both sides benefits" and that "cooperation is the only choice" for the two countries. the chinese authorities reported that in hubei province, where the virus began, no new cases have been reported in the last 2a hours. of the 55 new cases reported in the wider country, 5a were diagnosed in people, including chinese nationals, arriving from abroad. beijing has announced that from tonight, no foreigners will be allowed to enter china — including those with residence visas. all airlines have also been restricted to one flight a week per route, and must only fly at 75% capacity. 0ur north america
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correspondent peter bowes has the latest on how the pandemic is unfolding in the us. the prime minister and the health secretary matt hancock have both tested positive for coronavirus. i've developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus, that's to say a temperature now the global epicentre — and persistent cough. more positive tests for covid—i9 and on the advice of the chief than any other country. medical officer, i've taken a test. in some communities, the number of cases is doubling every three days. more than a quarter are in new york city, where the emergency services say they are overwhelmed by people calling for help. it's worse, they say, than after 9/11. and we're not even started yet. so, if we're doing 6,000 today, it's going to be 8,000 tomorrow. more and more people are going to call. it's...a sustained impact like this, we've never dealt with. at his latest briefing with the white house covid—i9 task force, president trump
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was generally upbeat. beautiful day. he responded to the surge in cases. it's a tribute to the amount of testing that we're doing. we're doing tremendous testing, and i'm sure you're not able to tell what china is testing or not testing. as more and more people fall sick, and with much of the country at a standstill, the virus has had a catastrophic impact on america's workforce. social isolation orders and shuttered businesses have led to a huge spike in the latest jobless figures, 3.3 million people laid off because of covid—i9. never before in us history has there been such a dramatic rise in unemployment. they have to go back to work. our country has to go back. our country is based on that. and i think it's going to happen pretty quickly. mr trump said robust testing protocols might allow some counties in the country to lift their safeguards against the coronavirus. he said the white house was working
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on a plan to be revealed next week, although it wouldn't mean an end to social distancing. in the meantime, soldiers are setting up this field hospital in new york, and a i,000—bed naval hospital ship is being deployed to manhattan. another is heading to los angeles, where local officials fear there will be a critical shortage of beds in the coming days and weeks. peter bowes, bbc news. meanwhile, president trump has tweeted this response following that call with president xi. he said that china has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus. he went to add that, "we are working closely together. much respect!" interesting he avoided using the expression from earlier in the week. the chinese virus. a germination
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between so what developments have there been in the uk? well, house buyers and sellers have been urged by the government to put off completion during the coronavirus lockdown. firefighters are to be given additional responsibilities to aid the uk's fight against the virus. over the next two months, they'll be asked to deliver food and medicines, drive ambulances, and if necessary, help move the remains of victims who've died. and there has been a mixed reaction to the package of measures accounced by the chancellor to help self—employed workers. 0ur political correspondent leila nathoo is in westminster. fill us in on the pros and cons as seen by the public who will or will not benefit from these measures. this was a long time coming. it was an outstanding issue for the government to provide a package of support for the self—employed. remember the government had outlined
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the support package for employees last week providing 80% cover, guaranteed 80% of wages. there were calls to say why are self—employed people not getting the same. the reason the government said they took time to come up with the system was that they had to identify those self—employed who are most in need. we need to know some self—employed people are going in and out of self employment and we need to be able to identify their incomes as many people who are self—employed vary from month—to—month. they have come up from month—to—month. they have come up with a package of measures. they are offering a government backed grant, it will come as a lump—sum payment of 80% of average monthly profits over the last three years and that grant will now come in june. it is that time lag although it will be backdated to march, it is that time—lag lots of people will not get that payment untiljune. that has been the main area of contention. the government insists self—employed people already have a
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package, a number of measures available for them for support. you is what the business secretary had to say a little earlier. i completely understand that there are very many people who are worried about their livelihoods, about how they are going to pay their bills and what we've ensured through the system is that there is support already available for people. we've ensured that those who have mortgages or able to have a mortgage holiday for three months. we've also ensured that the welfare system, we put more money into that so there is an extra £1000 on the standard allowance every year when it comes to universal credit and of course, if you're self—employed, the minimum income floor has been removed at this point. we've also said that for those who would normally be paying a bill at the end ofjuly, in terms of their self—assessment to hmrc, that can be deferred until 2021 and of course, some of those who are self—employed will also be registered for vat and we've said there are deferrals on that as well. so there is a package of measures in place to support people right now.
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ministers insist this will cover 95% of those who received a majority of their income from self—employment, clearly there will be some concerns about people who might be falling through those cracks. the message from government is that this is a massively complex situation, let's not forget the scale of government intervention in people's lives. thank you. massively complex. the government has urged house buyers and sellers to put off completion until after the outbreak over fears about social distancing. the housing secretary, robertjenrick, said even those scheduled to move today should try to delay. estate agents and surveyors are also facing tight restrictions. in italy, the number of coronavirus cases and deaths has risen again, and people now worry the virus is spreading more quickly to the south of the country.
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0ne region has announced it will extend the lockdown to april 14, and many others are expected to follow. jean mackenzie reports from rome. hi, alan. hello. how are you? all right. be in no doubt — for italians, this lockdown is serious. in the 18 days since it began, the annini family haven't left their flat once. 0nly alan's been out to get food. you're the brave one? why have you chosen to be so strict about this? because we think it is the only way to overcome this situation. we saw the number of people infected and the number of dead people increasing, day by day. with hundreds more deaths announced here every night, this pandemic is still taking lives at alarming speed. and so, the rules are getting tougher.
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we're invited to meet the commander of the local police. how often are you finding people breaking the lockdown? we are on the edge of the city here, and police are stopping people from being able to travel any further. although italy has been in lockdown for nearly three weeks now, the restrictions just keep getting tighter and tighter. so now, anyone caught leaving without a valid reason can be fined up to 3000 euros. and anyone found with the virus outside their home, so not in quarantine, can be sent to prison for up to five years. anything to stop the virus
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spreading, with fears the epicentre could be shifting from the north, to down here, and into the south. how much longer do you think you can do this for? i don't know. we hope a couple of weeks. and yes, we are spending much more time together as a family than before. and that is one of the fairly positive things, if any positive thing is coming out of the situation. the lockdown will almost certainly be extended. for how long, no one knows. and so, life in this new dimension must continue indefinitely. jean mackenzie, bbc news, rome. guidance for health workers on when personal
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protective equipment are being reviewed and are expected to be updated "within 48 hours", the bbc has been told. documents show that nhs supply chain "hasn't been able to manage" the delivery of ppe to frontline staff. nhs staff feel they are at risk of contracting coronavirus unless they wear ppe for all patients, according to the nhs confederation. let's speak now to our news correspondent faye kirkland, who's also a doctor, and joins us from cumbria. what are gps telling you? the current advice from health authorities across the uk is that personal protective equipment should only be used if you are seeing a patient with suspected coronavirus oi’ patient with suspected coronavirus or you know that they have it but there is increasing disquiet from doctors. two gps i have spoken to said they have coronavirus symptoms and believe they contracted the virus whilst seeing patients at theirgp virus whilst seeing patients at
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their gp surgeries. whilst most patients can be cared for on the phone, some patients need to be seen face—to—face. 0ne phone, some patients need to be seen face—to—face. one of the doctors who works in south london a week ago was well. now at home self isolating with a cough... i do apologise, i will interrupt you because i need to talk, we welcome back to you but we need to go over to our political editor, laura. what have you got to tell us? good morning, i havejust discovered the prime minister boris johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. he is understood to have mild symptoms. will self—isolate in number ten and will be in charge of the government approach this is a significant moment. he has been in close contact with the government chief scientist and all the people in charge of trying to handle the various responses. having displayed mild symptoms he is understood to have tested positive for the infection.
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interactive have more details of when that test was conducted and the nature of his symptoms? that is not yet clear. we don't know, last week we reported that various numbers of staff in number ten had already gone off with a virus including david frost who is the government's chief brexit negotiator and people who had been working in close contact with him. we asked the question at that point as to whether the prime minister himself had been tested or whether there were concerns about his health. i can tell you at this point at what time he started to have the symptoms where he believed the right thing to do was to have a test. —— can't tell you. as of now, he is displaying mild symptoms and is well enough essentially to keep working, using technology rather than, we have already seen the images of boris johnson than, we have already seen the images of borisjohnson holding plenty of video meetings. the for
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now he is not stepping back from the job that he is doing. in terms of rubbing running the government response. dominic raab is the person who would step up if the prime minister needed to take some time off work. as of now, despite having the, in charge of how the government is trying to fight this. this will raise questions about the amount of social—distancing around the prime minister and the point at which it was brought in because we also him at those busy news conferences and in parliament until only days ago. that is right. it has moved so quickly, health minister has been confirmed to have the disease and that felt like a shock at the time. it has become clear since then that the borough of westminster which is of course not just the borough of westminster which is of course notjust a political village, has been seen to be a hotspot of the disease. there have
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been various mps who have been off, self isolating, various officials in whitehall, until thursday last week, the prime minister was appearing at a podium at a press conference, certainly much closer than two metres away from other very critical people, the chief scientist, the chief medical adviser for the whole country, there have been set to change that in recent days, in the last few days we have been taking place online but we don't have at this stage a calendar of when he fell ill, when he was in a position to test positive that as you suggest there will be very close interest in those dates and we may well find out through the day. we have on-screen the tweet from the prime minister himself. but while we are looking at that, could you remind any viewers who are just
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that, could you remind any viewers who arejustjoining us of that, could you remind any viewers who are justjoining us of this very significant breaking news for the government's command and control of the entire covert i9 fight. —— covid—i9. the entire covert i9 fight. —— covid-19. the prime minister boris johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he is understood to only have mild symptoms, for now he will be self isolating in number ten on the planet the moment is for him to continue thejob on the planet the moment is for him to continue the job of trying to pull together the country response, health crisis and an economic crisis. there are no plans as thing stands for him to hand over the reins to dominic raab who has the official number two role in this kind of situation if he were to become so well that he was off, for now, —— so ill. apart from trying to use technology to keep the prime minister away from people who have not contracted and try to carry on, certainly not business as usual, but
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business as something like where he is still in charge. we know that he has actually said he has only developed symptoms over the last 24—hour is. but of course, downing street as a place where there are lots of people going in and out all of the time. the brexit negotiator went off last week with symptoms, i understand there are various other important officials who went off too but his prime minister himself has become the latest public figure to fall victim to this illness. the air to the throne has also tested positive for the coral virus which is clearly an infection which does not respect any boundaries and anyone could fall victim, i would stress at the moment, the prime minister has said he has mild symptoms, there is no question at this point of something much more serious. laura, a sensitive question about access to testing because access to testing has been such a
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controversy access to testing has been such a c0 ntrove rsy over access to testing has been such a controversy over the past couple of weeks. we saw on wednesday when prince charles tested positive, there was some questions from some figures in the nhs about what made him qualify for the test when many of those on the front line of the actual clinicalfight of those on the front line of the actual clinical fight against covid—i9 are not getting the testing that they are demanding. so i suppose here as the prime minister with mild symptoms and he has been tested. that is right. i think testing has become one of the key issues and one of the most controversial things with the government's handling of this, where they procured enough why does it appear britain is struggling to get the number of tests and the programme of testing other countries have had. i think it is very understandable that this real anxiety particularly about medical staff not having access to tests, i think most people would probably think most people would probably think that trying to track the prime minister's elf at a time when the prime minister and government are under huge pressure —— prime
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minister's health, so the country has a way through this crisis. i think most people would think it is reasonable that people like ken and downing street would have access to testing but as you suggest there is no question the lack of testing is a bsently no question the lack of testing is absently one of the pressure points of the government's handling of this, no doubt about this.|j of the government's handling of this, no doubt about this. i know you need to get on and make more calls around this, one last question. 0n the subject of testing. until a few days ago, the policy was to test the individual who had symptoms and then also to trace and test those with him they had been in contact and i am sure all the queen's subjects will be glad to have seen in the last few hours the photograph of herself within a telephone meeting with the prime minister in the light of these development is, rather than in a face—to—face for the regular meeting but that question of the prime minister tracing, the prime minister
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testing positive, and the tracing of all those with whom he has been in contact as you point out, many of those in critical roles, that is going to be a concern? yes, if you think the line—up of the people who are in the meetings that go on and downing street trying to tackle the government handling of this, there is the chief medical officer, the chief scientific adviser for the whole country, other senior cabinet ministers, is the cabinet secretary, making the whitehall machine work at the same. the chancellor of course he has been ramping up these enormous changes to the financial symptom to try to stave off a very serious economic downturn. in parliament, this week, the prime minister was at prime minister's questions on wednesday. mps were staying further apart than they normally do. but westminster is a very busy and bustling place. full
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of people who carry out very important roles for the country, it is somewhere business is done that is somewhere business is done that is vital to the whole country. at the moment, it is comparatively deserted. it is a bit of a ghost town on the street, but of course nz government department, things are happening at a rate of knots. very frantically indeed. of course, there will be a concern for a lot of people, remember parliament itself closed early, they rose, to use jargon, they rose early on wednesday after emergency legislations had been passed. parliament itself is not setting but behind the walls of whitehall, and rightly hardly anybody in the streets, there is work going on that is vital to all of us. in the prime minister after the airto of us. in the prime minister after the air to the throne as the second in what enormously significant person to come down with the illness. i would stress that if people are tuning in, at the moment,
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what we know is that borisjohnson developed symptoms in the last 24—hour is, he was advised to have a test by the chief medical officer, he has tested positive but is displaying mild symptoms and is still trying to carry on with the job and will self—isolate in number ten for now. thanks so much for summing up at the end there. i will let you go now. thank you very much for bringing us that breaking news. let's speak now to chair of the treasury select committee, joining us treasury select committee, joining us from london. we were going to talk about the measures from the self—employed, but first you're reaction to news that the prime minister himself has tested positive. for coronavirus. clearly, my thoughts are with the prime minister and his family and indeed with all of those being afflicted by this terrible disease. it does sound at this stage at least on the early information that this is a mild symptom situation and let's hope that it remains that way and the
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prime minister makes a speedy recovery. he is doing the right thing by self isolating and number ten downing st but he has also it appears to me to be very much still in charge. i think this does illustrate to everybody listening and watching to your programme how vitally important it is that everybody rigorously adheres to the guidance that the government has put out in terms of us restricting our movements, keeping that social—distancing and making sure that we we support the nhs and save lives. many other key figures i'm combating the coronavirus have been in contact with the prime minister in the last few days. the social—distancing that we are now all advised the practice has not beenin all advised the practice has not been in place in westminster until very recently. this is sadly a reflection of the way this disease works, it incu bates reflection of the way this disease works, it incubates for some period of time during which individuals can be infectious and parliament i'm
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afraid as no different from any other area where people gather and so you will have these kind of effects occurring were people are becoming infected. clearly parliament has gone into recess early which i personally think was the right thing to do, and there are serious efforts by the house authorities to look at how parliament can still function, democracy be upheld which i know what will be whilst at the same time making sure that we operate on a basis. i will ask you a personal question. have you been in contact with the prime minister in the last few days, as we hear from with the prime minister in the last few days, as we hearfrom our political editor a moment ago, he was an the commons as recently as wednesday. know, in my particular case i have not been in contact with the prime minister or physically close to the prime minister for some weeks now. let's talk about the issues that we originally intended to talk about. the huge financial
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bailouts that we are seeing from the chancellor to help the economy keep on its legs. the fourth yesterday in a fortnight in aid of the self—employed, does it go far enough? i think in these trying times, it is difficult to find anything that goes far enough as you put it and an essential take away the cane of problems and stress of the cane of problems and stress of the economy and workers up and down the economy and workers up and down the country find themselves up to. i think it is both bold and comprehensive in terms of what the chancellor has come forward with. the £2500 a month for three months is very much at the upper end of what people are speculatively may come forward with, a huge injection of support. it will apply to 95% of the self—employed. the 5% excluded are largely those earning or having
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profits on average 200,000 a year. he is being well targeted as well as being pretty universal. thanks so much forjoining us, we will leave us now much forjoining us, we will leave us now because much forjoining us, we will leave us now because as you much forjoining us, we will leave us now because as you will understand in the mix of the breaking news about the prime minister, we need to help yours understand immediate events, we will come back to economic issues as soon as. let us listen to the message from the prime minister which he posted on his twitter account in the last few minutes. hi folks, i want to bring you up to speed with something that is happening today which is i have developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus. that is to say, a temperature and a persistent cough and on the advice of the chief medical officer, i have taken a test, that has come out positive. so, iam taken a test, that has come out positive. so, i am working from home, iam positive. so, i am working from home, i am self isolating, and that is entirely the right thing to do.
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but, be in no doubt that i can continue. thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to continue to communicate with my top team to lead the national fightback against the coronavirus and i want to thank everybody involved, i want to thank above all, our amazing everybody involved, i want to thank above all, ouramazing nhs everybody involved, i want to thank above all, our amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the nhs. but it is notjust the nhs, it is our police, social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools, dwp staff, and amazing national effort by the public services. but also by every member of the british public whose volunteering incredible response, 600,000 people have volunteered to ta ke 600,000 people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort, to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus for some i want to thank you, i want to thank everybody who is working to keep our country going through this epidemic and we will get through it and the
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way we will get through it is of course by applying the measures that you have heard so much about. and the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country welcome through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back. so thank you to everybody who is doing what i am doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. that is the way we're going to win, we're going to beat it and we're going to it together. stay at home, protect the nhs and save lives. the prime minister giving the news of his own positive test for coronavirus, saying he developed a temperature and a cough, mild symptoms. and on the advice of the chief medical officer he took a test and it has come back positive. but
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typically confident and positive, expressing his thanks to nhs staff, as “— expressing his thanks to nhs staff, as —— expressing his thanks to the country and his confidence that the country and his confidence that the country would overcome the virus. let's talk now to james forsyth, who isa let's talk now to james forsyth, who is a columnist with the spectator. thank you so much forjoining us. you will have seen and heard that a video of the prime minister. your immediate reaction? i think, as you said, it is classically boris johnson, very positive. but he is going to lead the government response. they will be a lot of concern in whitehall because obviously he has been in contact with many of the key figures dealing with many of the key figures dealing with this crisis in the past few days. it undoubtedly does complicate things on a governmental level. you said he was positive there. i mean,
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he said his symptoms were mild. just talking for a moment for longer about the prime minister himself and his health, he does look in that video well. and he does it sound well. so i suppose while the concerns that you express at the wider infections that might be going on, in terms of his own personal have he looks in good shape? yeah. i think it is important anybody with a temperature and a cough must self—isolate. the prime minister is to follow that. i think a lot of stuff in whitehall is already happening. cabinet meetings happening. cabinet meetings happening. i think there are ways to do without. i think the concern will be, and this has been the concern
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for quite some time, what happens if this infection spreads throughout whitehall? how much more difficult does that make the job of the government? let's talk about that in more detail. until very recently the prime minister has been conducting those news conferences with a very large number of journalists in those news conferences with a very large number ofjournalists in the room. some of our audience may not feel that a journalist are critical workers, but then obviously his aides inside downing street, the chief medical officer, the chief scientific adviser, there are a lot of key people in the battle who he has been working with and very close proximity to, as we have seen in recent days? yeah. they come as far as possible, try to follow the social distancing guidelines. if you look at the cabinet meeting on tuesday, yes matt hancock was physically in the room. but he is a good six feet away from the prime minister. the prime minister and the
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chancellor were standing outside number 10 last night clapping. but again they were the appropriate six feet away from each other. i think the question becomes, how widespread is this infection in whitehall? if there had been some number 10 staff self isolating, they will be worries about whether this could make things even more difficult as the government tries to handle what is undoubtedly one of the biggest peacetime challenges this country has faced. and if the prime minister becomes unable to lead the effort due to any worsening of symptoms, then the duties fall upon dominic raab, the foreign secretary. it is, as we understand from earlier this week, his role to step up should he be needed? he is the first secretary of state as well as the foreign secretary. if the prime minister is incapacitated for any time, he will act as the acting prime minister.
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and dominic raab himself, this would bea and dominic raab himself, this would be a huge accretion of duties to him? yeah. obviously it would be. ironically, he has tested negative for coronavirus. it would obviously be, it would make it more difficult for government, especially because borisjohnson has very much been the face of the government response to coronavirus. he has been holding these regular press conferences. his addresses to the nation have been at the heart of the communication with the heart of the communication with the public. dominic raab is nowhere near as well—known a figure as boris johnson. and turning to some of the criticisms we have heard in recent days, in some quarters the criticisms are that a social distancing was not introduced early enough. and in other quarters there
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have been criticisms of the government and its scientific advice, criticisms of its, of the extent to which it's been able to provide testing for health workers. if the prime minister himself is now the victim of the virus, does that suggest to you that politically the pressures will diminish because people will want to give the prime minister some space? 0r people will want to give the prime minister some space? or will people be saying, those critics who were already shouting at the prime minister, will they be shouting louder, we told you so?|j minister, will they be shouting louder, we told you so? i don't think this is going to kind of... i think, as you said, looking at that video, what everyone at number 10 and in government are saying, boris johnson has mild symptoms. i don't think it is at a stage where it is... the criticisms that front line nhs staff should be tested, they
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will carry on regardless in this situation. and so, james forsyth, just for anyjustjoining situation. and so, james forsyth, just for any just joining us, situation. and so, james forsyth, just for anyjustjoining us, i think we should probably reiterate that the breaking news we are covering at present is that the british prime minister, boris johnson, has himself tested positive for coronavirus. what you see on screen now is him delivering a social media message to the public. it describes how he developed mild symptoms, temperature and a cough. and how he sought advice on what to do and got it from the chief medical 0fficer. let's listen to him again. it was very moving last night to join let's listen to him again. it was very moving last night tojoin in that national clap for the nhs. but it's not just that national clap for the nhs. but it's notjust the nhs. it's our police, our social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools and dwp staff, and amazing
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national effort by the public services, but also by every member of the british public volunteering. an incredible response. 600,000 people have volunteered to take part ina great people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus. i wanted to thank you. i want to thank everybody who is working to keep our country going through this epidemic. we will get through this epidemic. we will get through it. the way we will get through it. the way we will get through it. the way we will get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you will have heard so much about. and the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back. so thank you to everybody who is doing what i am doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. that's the way we are going to win. we are
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going to beat it. and we are going to beat it together. stay—at—home. protect the nhs. and stay —— save lives. the prime minister, who is now putting into practice his own advice and staying at home in number 10. that test of coronavirus carried out in numberio by that test of coronavirus carried out in number 10 by nhs staff. the result positive. and in keeping with the guidance of the prime minister is now self isolating in downing street. he is continuing to lead the government response to coronavirus. and 55 years old, just in case you need to know that. he posted his video on twitter saying people need to be in no doubt, i can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus. and it is not known, he did not mention, whether e is staying with his fiancee, carrie symons, who is
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several months pregnant. so that breaking news in the past hour. that the prime minister has developed these symptoms and has tested positive for the virus. let's go back to james forsyth, political editor of the spectator. from your knowledge of the prime minister is this atypical performance in the face of adversity, that he is in fairly positive, confident frame of mind? he is a naturally optimistic person. i think he has always has possessed the ability to cheer people up. he has always been quite proud of his health. i think this is the kind of upbeat response you would expect from him. it is worth illustrating that everybody who has
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had illustrating that everybody who has ha d co nta ct illustrating that everybody who has had contact with him in the past 2a was, is saying that the symptoms he seems to possess are fairly mild. an aspect we haven't yet talked about, either with our political editor or with you, is the one we mentioned a moment ago that he does have a fiancee and his fiancee is several months pregnant. and obviously advice to pregnant mothers to be is complex right now. it is to be especially careful in the last trimester of pregnancy? yeah. i think the public inland guidelines will kick in, one presumes. and we don't know whether he is self isolating at the moment with his fiancee or alone. i don't think downing street has made that clear. that will be guided by what the medical advice of the government is giving to the country. going back to
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what we do now, interesting that the prime minister said, be in no doubt, ican prime minister said, be in no doubt, i can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback. communicate with all my top team to lead the nationalfightback. a communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback. a very clear determination from the prime minister that he remains in charge despite now being a victim of the virus himself? yeah. i think at the moment these symptoms are sufficiently mild. they will not stop him from doing this. because lots of senior people in number 10 we re lots of senior people in number 10 were already self isolating because they had symptoms. we saw the cabinet meeting on zoom this week. many of the operations have moved to video conferencing and that kind of thing. i think it will be possible for him to carry on doing thejob thing. i think it will be possible for him to carry on doing the job as long as these symptoms remain as mild as they currently are.
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and then going to a wider concern, there are many figures in politics who are elderly, some of them are in fairly front line roles. we saw the prime minister in parliament only on wednesday. there must be concern for those who have come into contact with him that they may be vulnerable? yes, i think there will be. but i think it is also worth remembering that it is normally standing room only for prime minister's questions. this week they we re minister's questions. this week they were spread out roughly about six feet apart. so one would hope that that has minimised the risk of infections. james, thank you very much. james forsyth, political editor of the spectator. the prime minister himself has tested positive for the coronavirus. you are
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watching bbc news. welcome to viewers on bbc one and around the world. you are watching a bbc news special. in the last hour it has been confirmed that the prime minister, borisjohnson, it has been confirmed that the prime minister, boris johnson, has it has been confirmed that the prime minister, borisjohnson, has tested positive for coronavirus. he is self isolating in downing street. the prime minister was tested in number 10 after experiencing mild symptoms on thursday. a downing street spokeswoman said the prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of england's chief medical officer, professor chris whitty. boris johnson medical officer, professor chris whitty. borisjohnson himself posted this message on twitter. hi, folks, i want to bring you up to speed with something happening
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today. i have developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus, that is to say a temperature and a persistent cough. and on the advice of the chief medical officer i've taken a test. that has come out positive. so i am working from home. iam positive. so i am working from home. i am self isolating. and that's entirely the right thing to do. but to be in no doubt that i can continue. thanks to the wizardry of technology i can continue to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus. and i want to thank everybody who is involved. i want to thank, of course, above all, our amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night to join amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night tojoin in amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the nhs. but it's not just the nhs. national clap for the nhs. but it's notjust the nhs. it's our police, our social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools, dwp staff, and amazing national effort by the public services. but also by every member of the british public
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who is volunteering, an incredible response. 600,000 people volunteered to ta ke response. 600,000 people volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus. i want to thank you. i want to thank everybody who is working to keep our country going through this epidemic. and we will get through it. and the way we will get through it is, of course, by applying the measures that you will have heard so much about. and the more effectively we all comply with those measures, the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back. so thank you to everybody who is doing what i am doing, working from home to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. that is the way we are going to win. we are going to beat it and we are going to be did
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together. stay—at—home, protect the nhs and save lives. the prime minister there on social media. the news was broken earlier by our political editor at laura kuenssberg. i have just discovered that the prime minister, boris johnson, i have just discovered that the prime minister, borisjohnson, has tested positive for coronavirus. he is understood to have mild symptoms. he was self isolated in number 10. he was self isolated in number 10. he will still be in charge of the government approach to how they are handling the crisis. 0bviously government approach to how they are handling the crisis. obviously this isa handling the crisis. obviously this is a significant moment. boris johnson has been in close contact with the gum and's chief scientist and the people in charge of trying to handle the governments various responses. but he is now having to have tested positive for the infection. laura, do you have more details of when that test was conducted, the nature of his symptoms and the date on which the test was conducted? that is not yet
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clear. we don't know that. i know that last week we reported that various members of the staff at number 10 had gone off with the virus, including david frost, the chief brexit negotiator, and various other people who have been working in close contact with him. we asked the question at that point as to whether or not the prime minister had been contested —— tested, or whether there were concerns about its health. i can't tell you when he had started to have the kind of symptoms when they believed it the right thing to do was to have the test. but we do know as of now he is said to be displaying mild symptoms. and is well enough essentially to keep working. using technology. we have already seen those images of borisjohnson holding have already seen those images of boris johnson holding video meetings. the cabinet has already held video meetings this week. for now he is not stepping back from the job that he is doing, running the government response. there is a kind
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of standby, dominic raab, the foreign secretary, who would step up if the prime minister needed to take some time off work. but as of now, despite having the illness, boris johnson is still in charge of how the government is trying to fight this. and laura, this will raise questions about the conduct, the amount of social distancing, around the prime minister and the point at which he was brought in. we all saw him add those busy news conferences in parliament until only days ago? yes, that's right. this thing has moved so quickly but it's some time since nadine dorries, a health minister, was found to have had the disease. that was a real shock at westminster. it has become clear since then that westminster itself, the borrower of westminster, not just the political village, has been seen to be one of the hotspots of the disease. there have been various mps off self isolating, various officials in whitehall who have been offered self isolating. but until i
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think thursday last week the prime minister was appearing at a podium ata minister was appearing at a podium at a press conference, certainly much closer than two metres away from other very critical people to this effort. the chief scientist at the chief medical adviser for the whole country. but downing street had taken the steps to change that in recent days. press conferences, for example, have in the last few days been taking place online. we do not have at this stage the calendar of when he fell ill, when he therefore might have been aware that he could have been in a position to test positive. but as you suggest, there will be very close interest in those states that we may well find out more through the day. laura, we have just got out more through the day. laura, we havejust got on out more through the day. laura, we have just got on screen, let's bring it back it up, the tweet from the prime minister himself. while we are looking at that, can you just remind for any viewersjust looking at that, can you just remind for any viewers just joining us looking at that, can you just remind for any viewers justjoining us of this very significant breaking news obviously for the government's command and control of the entire covid—i9?
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command and control of the entire covid-19? that's right. we have just learnt the prime minister has tested positive for coronavirus. he is understood to have only mild symptoms. for now he will be self isolating in number 10. the plan is at the moment for him to continue thejob of at the moment for him to continue the job of trying to pull together the job of trying to pull together the country's response to what is a genuine crisis, a health crisis and an epic —— economic crisis. there is no plan as it stands to hand over the reins to the foreign secretary, dominic raab, who has the official number two role in this situation if you were to become so ill that he would be off. but for now, apart from using more technology to try to keep the prime minister away from people who have not contracted the infection, he is trying to carry on. certainly not business as usual. but business where he is still in charge. we know that he has actually said he has only developed the symptoms in the last 24—hour is. but
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of course downing street is a place where there are lots of people going in and out all the time. we know some of his key staff, the brexit negotiator, for example, went off last week with symptoms. various other important officials have been off too. the prime minister himself has now become the latest import figure to fall victim to this illness. of course the heir to the throne has also tested positive for coronavirus, clearly an infection that doesn't respect any boundaries or anybody at all. anybody could fall victim. i would stress at the moment of the prime minister says he has mild symptoms. there is no question at this point of something much more serious. and laura, a sensitive question about access to testing, because access to testing has been such a controversy over the past couple of weeks. and we saw on wednesday, wendy prince of wales, prince charles tested positive, there were some questions from figures in the nhs of what made him
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qualify for the test when many of those who are on the front line of the actual clinical fight against covid—i9 are not getting the testing that they are demanding. so i suppose here is the prime minister with mild symptoms and he has been tested ? with mild symptoms and he has been tested? well, that's right. i think testing has become one of the key issues in one of the more controversial things about the government handling of this. were they prepared enough, why does it appear britain is struggling to get the numbers of tests and the programme of testing that other countries have had? i think while it's very understandable there is real anxiety about medical staff in particular not having access to tests, i think that most people would probably think that trying to track the prime minister's health at the time when the prime minister and the time when the prime minister and the government are under huge pressure, trying to make sure the country as a way through this crisis, i think most people would probably think it's crisis, i think most people would probably think its reasonable that people like him in downing street
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would have access to testing. but as you suggest, there is no question testing or a lack thereof was one of the pressure points of the government's handling of this. no doubt about that. laura, i know you need to get on and make more calls around this, one last question. 0n the subject of testing, until a few days ago the policy was to test the individuals who had symptoms and to trace and test those with whom he had been —— they had been in contact. all of the queen's subjects will have been glad to have seen in recent there is a picture of her in a telephone conversation with the prime minister rather than in a face—to—face for their regular meeting. but that question of the prime minister now testing positive, the tracing of all those with whom he has been in contact, as you point out, many of them in critical roles, thatis out, many of them in critical roles, that is going to be a concern? yes,
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if you think the line—up of the people in these type of meetings, trying to tackle the government's camping of this, the chief medical 0fficer, camping of this, the chief medical officer, the chief scientific officerfor officer, the chief scientific officer for the whole country, other senior cabinet ministers, the cabinet secretary in charge of making the whitehall machine work at this time, the chancellor, of course, who has been ramping up these enormous changes to the financial system to try to stave off a very serious economic downturn, and of course in parliament this week, the prime minister was at prime minister's questions on wednesday. mps were staying further apart from each other than they normally do. but westminster is a very busy and bustling place. it is full of people who carry out a very important roles for the country. like them or loathe them, it is
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somewhere where business is done which is vital to the whole country. at the moment it is comparatively deserted. it is a ghost town on the streets. inside government departments things are happening at a rate of knots and very frantically indeed. so of course this will be a concern for a lot of people. remember, parliament itself closed early and they rose early. that was on wednesday after emergency legislation had been passed. the prime minister was not sitting. behind the walls of whitehall, even though there might not be anybody in the street, there is work going on thatis the street, there is work going on that is vital to all of us. the prime minister, after the air to the throne, is the second enormously significant person to have come down with the illness. i would stress if people are just tuning in, with the illness. i would stress if people arejust tuning in, at with the illness. i would stress if people are just tuning in, at the moment what we know is that boris johnson developed symptoms in the last 2a—hours. he was advised to have a test, he has tested positive.
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he has mild symptoms and is still trying to carry on with the job and will self—isolate in number 10 for now. laura kuenssberg, our political editor. let's get more reaction and analysis to this from the editor of conservative home website, paul goodman, joining us on the phone. thank you forjoining us. 0bviously this is a time which has been described by many as the biggest crisis facing the country since the second world war. now the prime minister himself has fallen victim to the virus. how concerned are you? well, it could mean everything or it could mean nothing. if the illness is brief, the prime minister will carry on doing what he is doing by video conferencing and by other means. and in a way the timing of it happening today could have been worse. if this had happened just on the verge of the prime minister having to make a decision, like the lockdown decision that had to be
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made earlier this week, it would be very bad timing. but at the moment of the main stress must be on increasing testing and providing equipment. that is in the hands of ministers. and they should carry on driving that forward anyway. i am not convinced in the short term this news makes as much difference as one might immediately think. and of course many viewers will be reassured by seeing the prime minister's ro en video message in which he looked to —— particularly bullish and confident and sounded optimistic? yes, that's certainly so. we have to see what happens next. we know from reading about this virus and experiencing and talking to people who have it, that it can go on for the best part of two weeks. but there is a structure there to support the government. so if necessary, dominic rab will take charge. and i think the country could bear that for a week or a
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fortnight, as long as no really major decisions had to be taken. as i say at the moment of the main stress must be on getting those tests done and getting the equipment out to nhs staff. paul, thank you. we have to stop there. you are watching a bbc news special. a reminder of our top story. in the last hour it has been confirmed the prime minister, boris johnson, last hour it has been confirmed the prime minister, borisjohnson, has tested positive for coronavirus. he is self—isolating in downing street. the prime minister was tested in number 10 after experiencing mild symptoms on thursday. a downing street spokeswoman said... "the prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of england's chief medical officer, professor chris whitty." boris johnson posted this message on twitter. hi, folks. i want to bring you up to speed with something that is happening today which is that i have developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus,
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a temperature and a persistent cough, and on the advice of the chief medical officer i have taken a test that has come out positive, so i am working from home. i am self—isolating and that is entirely the right thing to do, but be in no doubt that i can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback against coronavirus. i want to thank everybody involved. above all, our amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the nhs — but it is notjust the nhs. it is our police, social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools and dwp staff, an amazing national effort by the public services but also by every member of the british public who is volunteering.
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600,000 people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus and i want to thank you and everybody who is working to keep our country going through this epidemic, and we will get through it and the way we are going to get through it is of course by applying the measures that you will have heard so much about. and the more effectively we all comply with those measures the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back so thank you to everybody who is doing what i am doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. that is the way we are going to win and we are going to beat it and beat it together. stay at home, protect
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the nhs and save lives. let's talk to our political correspondent, leila nathoo, who's at westminster. we are getting a breaking line on this through on the queen and news that the last time she saw boris johnson was march the 11th which will obviously be a source of relief to many and everyone well remember the photograph of them earlier in the photograph of them earlier in the week with their meeting by phone. so that his one contact we probably don't need to worry about in terms of cross infection. but other people who have had close contact with the prime minister in recent days will have to worry now? you will remember seeing boris johnson of course keeping his distance from them at the daily press co nfe re nce distance from them at the daily press conference on wednesday but clearly also his cabinet colleagues he has been dealing with in close
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contact, his staff in number ten, his security office, clearly list goes on. we know his partner is are a number of concerns about who the prime minister has come into contact with. we understand the chancellor rishi sunak has not displayed any symptoms, neither has dominic cummings. i'm sure everyone in close contact with the prime minister in recent days, whether they should have symptoms or whether they should be safe isolating. one of the concerns around this well be what should happen effort the prime minister's condition worsens. as we saw in the video, he is looking well but that is not always the case as people go on with this virus? at the
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moment he says he is leading the government response to the coronavirus outbreak. we already know the foreign secretary has been designated effectively the second—in—command, should the prime minister be taken ill it will be the foreign secretary, dominic raab who will take charge of the response. there is no indication that is anywhere near happening yet, very much the prime minister insisting he is the one in charge, not incapacitated. but that may become more relevant in the coming days. we don't know whether dominic raab has been tested, we don't know whether he has the symptoms himself, there will be various other cabinet ministers, the health secretary matt hancock of course you will have been in close contact with the prime minister who will need to take stock and perhaps isolate themselves if they start to spring symptoms. for they start to spring symptoms. for the moment, the prime minister insisting he is the one still in charge because he only has mild symptoms. thanks so much from
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westminster. paul goodman joins us by the phone. it is a moment of enormous national crisis and now the prime minister himself is ill with this virus. how serious blow is this newsit could mean a lot and it could mean nothing because if the symptoms continue to be mild, this is the age of technology and video conferencing, so boris johnson of technology and video conferencing, so borisjohnson would be able to carry on doing everything remotely. and we already know this week that she hasn't talking to cabinet colleagues via video conferencing so that would continue as normal. —— he has been talking. so far so good, looking well in the video but as we were discussing, this is not just video but as we were discussing, this is notjust a question of his health, many key figures in the fight against the virus have been in
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very close contact with the prime minister? they followed the chief medical officers advice and get tested but of course it is not as simple as running a chain down from borisjohnson to everyone else, if someone close to him gets the virus it could be they got the virus from a third—party. after all, boris johnson himself well have caught this from someone perhaps working in downing street so it will be very ha rd to downing street so it will be very hard to know who has caught what from who. the only common sense observation is follow the chief medical officer's advice and if you have got it to take the test if you can. if you can and in many people's case they can't and this is one of the controversies of the last few days. going back to the question of functioning and government in the midst of a crisis. dominic raab, the foreign secretary is the person designated to step up should the prime minister come incapacitated.
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0bviously dominic raab not as familiara 0bviously dominic raab not as familiar a figure to many of the public. i don't think we are quite there yet. if this was a moment where a critical decision was due it would be very difficult for the government so let's suppose this has happened a few days ago. at the moment when boris johnson happened a few days ago. at the moment when borisjohnson and the government had to decide whether or not to impose a lockdown. i think that would have been a very bad moment for this to have occurred. but as things stand the main issue at the moment as getting the testing done more widely and getting the equipment to the hospitals. those are both things ministers should be doing anyway, driving the process and the action through the official machine. there is never a good time for the prime minister to be ill but there could be worse time for boris johnson. thank you very much. for any viewers who are justjoining us,
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you well have heard that the prime minister himself has now tested positive for coronavirus. and importantly, we learned in the last few minutes that the last moment that the queen so borisjohnson was on march the 11th. that meeting between the queen and the prime minister. let's talk now to a former leader of the conservative party and a former government minister, iain duncan smith. thanks so much for joining us, your reaction to this use of the prime ministerjoining the number of infections?” use of the prime ministerjoining the number of infections? i am very sorry for him and obviously for his now pregnant girlfriend because it must be a worry for her and clearly needs to be separated which i am sure he has already gone into isolation so i am very sorry because he has i think that is an important
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feature to recognise, notjust somebody getting isolated on the decision, he is also having to make the decision at the same time and continue to run the government, so my thoughts are with him right now because it is a very difficult position to be in although i am not surprised that he may well have come into co nta ct surprised that he may well have come into contact with someone because he has been doing so much over the last few weeks, trying to keep peoples morale up, trying to talk to doctors and nurses and all sorts of people from the emergency services and i think he has made a huge and tremendous effort. what this underlines in a very real way for the public is the importance of the social—distancing measures which of course only fairly recently came into effect in westminster and in downing street? absolutely. to be fairto downing street? absolutely. to be fair to boris, he spent all his time trying to urge the people in this country to recognise the threat and
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what they can do about it and he has been on endlessly saying, look, please observe these social—distancing points, please don't go out in groups, please don't don't go out in groups, please don't do all the things that have been asked of you to avoid. and finally on monday, against his rule instincts, has had to clamp—down with emergency legislation and the powers to move people at all, if necessary to find them. it is both alien to his culture and his nature and britain's nature but he has taken those decisions and he has said to everybody, no matter how high you are, you're under threat from covid—i9 and unless you are prepared to step up and do what you have been asked to do, the chances are it will continue to spread, there is some quite good since we are beginning to get on top of it. we have heard from some quarters a sense of relief that at least some of the very major and very difficult
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decisions on social—distancing, on the economic packages, have now been taken. and that in a way, this is not the worst moment that news could have happened ? not the worst moment that news could have happened? i think the truth is what does this tell us? mess tells us what does this tell us? mess tells us that even the prime minister and the member of the royalfamily, let's not forget, prince charles now has the symptoms, the point here is that it has the symptoms, the point here is thatitis has the symptoms, the point here is that it is not the case ofjust one group likely to get this, everybody in the uk can get this virus. people in the uk can get this virus. people in the uk, others, do not observe this really critical social—distancing, keep yourself away from people as far as possible, stay in your household, all those rules that have been laid down, they are not there because people want to be awkward, they are there because this is the consequence of failing to do this earlier. that everybody and anybody can get this and of
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course you get it and don't realise it, you spread it as well and so it really is a very good example of what boris has been seeing absolutely endlessly, please, please, please observe these rules. at the same time, the announcement from the chancellor yesterday and last week, business loans supporting the pay for people in employment and also the self—employed, none of that is necessarily going to be perfect but they are on a scale unseen in this country at any time and they are real commitments. across the board, to getting politics altogether to try and make sure we get through this and we will get through this. we will get through this, the british people are unbelievably resilient and the economy is actually very strong but we have to do what we have been asked and we will get through this quickly. i moment ago, we watched on screen as we were listening to you, we we re screen as we were listening to you, we were watching the pictures of the prime minister and the chancellor out on the steps of downing street
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last night, observing a two metre distance as the uploaded the carers across our health front line. but right now, we are watching pictures of the prime minister only a couple of the prime minister only a couple of days earlier thanks by the chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer, at less than two metres and obviously i suppose one concern and one question in some minds would be should the social—distancing rules have come in earlier in westminster, in downing street and across government? to be fair, the prime minister has observed that two metre distancing throughout. the difference with those press conferences, they were not facing each other so they had, i am told they had stayed two metres apart during their discussions previously. we have to therefore hope this has been enough to ensure that the scientific advisers, the medical advisers are themselves not
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going to come down with us. but i am absolutely convinced the prime minister has kept his distance as far as humanly possible and of course no matter what he was a bsently course no matter what he was absently right as we all were to come out and applaud the nhs and emergency services are doing, notwithstanding the fact they are finding colleagues coming down with us finding colleagues coming down with us and having to be treated as well. we are all in this together, frankly. there is nobody here who can step above it, from the royal family down to a person in greater difficulty and the most vulnerable, eve ryo ne difficulty and the most vulnerable, everyone is in this together. i believe the prime minister has been leading... studio: thank you so much for joining us. welcome to viewers on bbc two, you are watching a bbc news special. a reminder of our top story, that in the last hour it's been confirmed that the prime minister, borisjohnson has tested positive
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for coronavirus. he is self—isolating in downing street. he was tested in number 10 after experiencing mild symptoms on thursday. a downing street spokeswoman said... "the prime minister was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of england's chief medical officer, professor chris whitty." boris johnson posted this message on twitter. hi, folks. i want to bring you up to speed with something that is happening today, which is that i have developed mild symptoms of the coronavirus, that is to say a temperature and a persistent cough, and on the advice of the chief medical officer i have taken a test that has come out positive, so i am working from home. i am self—isolating and that is entirely the right thing to do, but be in no doubt that i can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team, to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.
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i want to thank everybody involved. above all, our amazing nhs staff. it was very moving last night to join in that national clap for the nhs — but it is notjust the nhs. it is our police, social care workers, teachers, everybody who works in schools and dwp staff, an amazing national effort by the public services but also by every member of the british public who is volunteering. 600,000 people have volunteered to take part in a great national effort to protect people from the consequences of coronavirus and i want to thank you and everybody who is working to keep our country going through this epidemic, and we will get through it and the way we are going to get through it is of course by applying the measures that you will have heard so much about. and the more effectively
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we all comply with those measures the faster our country will come through this epidemic and the faster we will bounce back so thank you to everybody who is doing what i am doing, working from home, to stop the spread of the virus from household to household. that is the way we are going to win and we are going to beat it and beat it together. stay at home, protect the nhs and save lives. the news was broken by our political editor laura kuenssberg in the last half an hour. i have just discovered the prime minister boris johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. he is understood to have mild symptoms. he will self—isolate
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in number 10 and will crisis, this is a significant moment. he has been in close contact with the government chief scientist the various government responses are going. having displayed mild symptoms he is understood to have tested positive for the infection. do you have more details of when that test was conducted and the nature of his symptoms? that is not yet clear. we don't know, i know that last week we reported that various numbers of staff in number ten had already gone off with a virus including david frost who is the government's lead brexit negotiator and people who had been working in close contact with him. we asked the question at that point, as to whether the prime minister himself had been tested or whether there were concerns about his health. i can't tell you at this point at what time he started to
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have the kind of symptoms where they believed the right thing to do was to have a test. as of now, he is displaying mild symptoms and is well enough essentially to keep working, using technology rather than, we have already seen the images of borisjohnson holding plenty of video meetings. the cabinet was held using video links. for now he is not stepping back from the job that he is doing. in terms of running the government response. there is a standby. dominic raab is the person who would step up if the prime minister needed to take some time off work. but as of now, despite having the illness, borisjohnson is in charge of how the government is trying to fight this. this will raise questions about the amount of social—distancing around the prime minister and the point at which it was brought in because we also him at those busy news conferences and in parliament until only days ago.
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that's right. this thing has moved so quickly, health minister has been confirmed to have the disease and that felt like a shock at the time. it has become clear since then that the borough of westminster which is of course not just a political village, has been seen to be a hotspot of the disease. there have been various mps who have been off, self—isolating, various officials in whitehall, but until i think thursday last week, the prime minister was appearing at a podium at a press conference, certainly much closer than two metres away from other very critical people, the government chief scientist, the chief medical adviser for the whole country, but downing street had taken steps to change that in recent days, in the last few days we have been taking place online but we don't
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have at this stage a calendar of when he fell ill, when he therefore was in a position to test positive that as you suggest there will be very close interest in those dates and we may well find out more through the day. we have on—screen the tweet from the prime minister himself. but while we are looking at that, could you remind any viewers who are justjoining us of this very significant breaking news for the government's command and control of the entire covid fight. the prime minister borisjohnson has tested positive for coronavirus, he is understood to only have mild symptoms, for now he will be self—isolating in number 10 and the plan at the moment is for him to continue the job of trying to pull together the country response, a health crisis and an economic crisis.
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there are no plans as thing stands for him to hand over the reins to dominic raab who has the official number two role in this kind of situation if he were to become so ill that he was off, but for now, apart from trying to use technology to keep the prime minister away from people who have not contracted and try to carry on, certainly not business as usual, but business as something like where he is still in charge. we know that he has actually said he has only developed symptoms over the last 2a—hours. but of course, downing street is a place where there are lots of people going in and out all of the time. we know some key staff, the brexit negotiator went off last week with symptoms, understand there are various other important officials who went off too but his prime minister himself has become the latest public figure to fall victim to this illness. the heir to the throne has also tested
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positive for the coronavirus, which is clearly an infection positive for the coronavirus, which is clearly an illness which does not respect any boundaries and anyone could fall victim, i would stress at the moment, the prime minister has said he has mild symptoms, there is no question at this point of something much more serious. laura, a sensitive question about access to testing because access to testing has been such a controversy been such a controversy over the past couple of weeks. we saw on wednesday when prince charles tested positive, there was some questions from some figures in the nhs about what made him qualify for the test when many of those on the front line of the actual clinicalfight against covid—i9 are not getting the testing that they are demanding. so i suppose here is the prime minister with mild symptoms and he has been tested. that's right. i think testing has become one of the key issues and one of the most controversial things about the
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government's handling of this, were they prepared of this, were they prepared enough why does it appear britain is struggling to get the number of tests and the programme of testing other countries have had? i think it is very understandable that there is real anxiety particularly about medical staff not about medical staff not having access to tests, i think most people would probably think that trying to track the prime minister's health at a time when the prime minister and government are under huge pressure so the country has a way through this crisis. i think most people would think it is reasonable that people like downing street would have access to testing but as you suggest there is no question the lack of testing is absently one of the pressure points of the government's handling of this, no doubt about this. i know you need to get on and make more calls around this, one last question on the subject of testing. until a few days ago, the policy was to test the individual who had symptoms and then also to trace and
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test those with whom they had been in contact and i am sure all the queen's subjects will be glad to have seen, be glad to have seen, in the last few hours, the photograph of herself within a telephone meeting with the prime minister in the light of these developments, rather than in a face—to—face for their regular meeting but that question of the prime minister tracing, the prime minister now testing positive, and the tracing of all those with whom he has been in contact as you point out, many of those in critical roles, that is going to be a concern? yes, if you think the line—up of the people who are in these vital meetings that go on and downing street trying to tackle the government handling of this, there is the chief medical officer, the chief scientific adviser for the whole country, other senior cabinet ministers, the cabinet secretary, who is in charge of making the whitehall making the whitehall machine work at this time. the chancellor of course who has
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been ramping up these enormous changes to the financial symptom to try to stave off a very serious economic downturn. in parliament, this week, the prime minister was at prime minister's questions on wednesday. mps were staying further apart than they normally do. but westminster is a very busy and bustling place. full of people who carry out very important roles for the country, it is somewhere business is done that is vital to the whole country. at the moment, it is comparatively deserted. it is a bit of a ghost town on the street, but of course inside government department, things are happening at a rate of knots. very frantically indeed. of course, this will be a concern for a lot of people, remember parliament itself closed early, they rose, to use jargon, they rose early on wednesday, after emergency legislations had been passed.
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parliament itself is not sitting but behind the walls of whitehall, and there might be hardly anybody in the streets, there is work going on that is vital to all of us. and the prime minister after the heir to the throne as the second is the second enormously significant person to come down with the illness. i would stress that if people are tuning in, at the moment, what we know is that borisjohnson developed symptoms in the last 2a—hours, he was advised to have a test by the chief medical officer, he has tested positive but is displaying mild symptoms and is still trying to carry on with the job and will self—isolate in number ten for now. we have some more details coming in from the official prime minister spokesman. mrjohnson noticed some mild symptoms on thursday afternoon and received his test results at midnight last night. the prime minister dialled into the daily morning work—out and it meeting from
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numberii, morning work—out and it meeting from number 11, that is his private apartment, number 11, and number 11, that is his private apartment, number", and will continue to dial in buy teleconferencing while he is self isolating. the spokesman said, "mr johnson will not appear at the daily news co nfe re nce johnson will not appear at the daily news conference in downing street, this afternoon and over the next few days will not appear." meals and work will be left at the door of the prime minister's flat. so his meals are to be left outside the door. asked whether the prime minister's pregnant fiancee is living in downing street with mrjohnson, during his self isolation, the spokesman suggestion was that, or hint was that the answer was the prime minister of course follows all of the guidelines which have been issued by public health england in full. his circumstance is such that
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he will be required to self—isolate for seven days. 0bviously, he will be required to self—isolate for seven days. obviously, the prime minister's fiancee and several months pregnant. a particular concern for her health. lets talk to the deputy political editor of the telegraph. editor of lets talk to the deputy political editor of the telegraph. what is your primary concern about the prime minister himself being a victim of this virus which has afflicted the heir to the throne under prime minister? it is hugely significant and could have big implications for tackling the crisis. chief executive is down with symptoms. for now, they are mild and he can work, but there
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are mild and he can work, but there are about what happens if the symptoms get worse. does dominic raab step in? how would it work? we have had a lot of people wishing the prime minister well, but in terms of the country, we need leadership. borisjohnson made a point of reassuring people that he is still working, holding his usual meetings by teleconference. we have to hope the symptoms don't get worse. we are watching the pictures of the prime minister with the chancellor preserving a two metre distance as they applaud all those who care for us they applaud all those who care for us in the nhs. that raises
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questions, and a reminder of all the times we have seen a smaller distance between the pm and the cabinet and his scientific advisors. the concern must be that many of those around him may be vulnerable. people have pointed out that at pmst he was close to a priti patel and jacob rees mogg. he will have meetings with people throughout the week. public health england will be now tracing those people to see if they need to be self isolated or tested. 0n first night, there are pictures of them uploading in downing street. the chancellor is not being tested because he doesn't
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have symptoms. he is not self isolating because they kept a strict two metre distance. of course, that photo of them shows how important it is for them to follow their own advice. if senior members of the government come down with this and are unable to work, that has huge implications for the country. from downing street, we are hearing that there are other people in the prime minister's office who have self isolated. presumably in response to the news that the prime minister is a victim of the virus. let's talk about him and his health. he is 55,
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in good health. he says his symptoms are mild. i don't want to speculate on his personal health. while a lot of the victims have been older, with pre—existing conditions, sometimes people with no conditions are struck down. i'm nota people with no conditions are struck down. i'm not a doctor and i haven't seen his medical reports, so i can't comment. 0n downing street, it is good that his staff are self isolating. it sounds like they are doing tracing already. people in downing street had been self isolating before that. there are reports of people who have come into contact with mps who have already been taking those steps. it's
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reassuring that they are doing that now. a quick word about the prime minister's fiance. additional concern to them that she is pregnant, and that there is particular advice to mothers to be. the spokesman was asked this, and i understand has not commented on whether carrie simmons is self isolating. pregnant women know the advice is to take extra precautions, because they are considered more vulnerable. thank you very much. let's turn to borisjohnson's biographer. what do you know of the
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prime minister's general response? his health appears to be good, his symptoms appear to be mild. how resilient is he? i would say he is incredibly resilient. i've barely known him to be ill before. those people who think they are invulnerable to this disease should see the proof in borisjohnson having it. i don't know what his health records are, obviously. he is very resilient, but he is 55. remember, he will be extremely tired, even before he got ill. think of the pressure he has been under. i have mild symptoms at the moment. i'm lucky that they haven't got any
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worse so far. 0ne i'm lucky that they haven't got any worse so far. one of the other side effects is that your head gets very fuzzy. i'm really having to focus on talking to you now. even the slightest decisions are quite difficult to make. we have to be realistic as to how much he can do. we may be looking at the need for some kind of national government, where more people come in to share the load. for example, i know one senior civil servant who has had three close meetings with the prime minister recently. if we see people
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like him succumbing to these symptoms, we are in trouble and we need to share the load, to share decisions. we are grateful you are talking to us when you are experiencing symptoms. you are making perfect sense, i can reassure you. there are obviously some people who, in times of great stress, appear to thrive on stress rather than feeling exhausted by it. the prime minister has symptoms, as you have pointed out, he is facing a mounting crisis of enormous dimensions. is he the kind of person who thrives on stress? some kinds,
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yes. short, limited outbursts, i think he is very good at. if you give a deadline and say, right 1000 words on any subject, he can do that and thrive and focus extremely well. this is different, it is relentless stress, and it involves bringing in other people all the time. his personal make up is less good at that. i really wish him well and wish him all the luck in the world to get through this and help us all get through this. i'm not sure he is the kind of person who thrives on this kind of relentless stress. one
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other question about boris johnson himself — many people struggle with isolation. there has been discussion about the challenges and stresses of that. it is he the kind of person who can handle that kind of situation? having been isolated for ten days, i can tell you it is stressful for anybody, and it ten days, i can tell you it is stressfulfor anybody, and it will be for boris johnson. stressfulfor anybody, and it will be for borisjohnson. finally, he is quite a loner. in some ways, he will find that less difficult than others. he doesn't mind his own company. i wouldn't think that aspect would be much of a problem for him. we wish you the very best in your recovery. some pictures of
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dominic cummings, the prime ministermy key adviser, leaving downing street in the last hour. we understand he has not been tested as he is not displaying symptoms. there has been a big reaction on social media to the news the prime minister has tested positive for coronavirus. sajid javid tweeted: the whole family and country thinking of you. thank you for your strong leadership ata time thank you for your strong leadership at a time of crisis. get well soon. jeremy corbyn said: i wish the prime minister a speedy recovery and hope his family are safe and healthy. the virus can and does affect everyone. be safe. 0ur health depends on
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everybody else. the president of the european council said, get well, borisjohnson. europe wishes you a speedy recovery. i believe we will win together. more on the symptoms of the virus now from the general practitioner sarah jarvis. thank you for joining practitioner sarah jarvis. thank you forjoining us. you obviously can't talk to the prime minister's symptoms, but give us a sense of what might unfold for him or any other sufferer in the coming days. there is a wide spectrum, but i hope eve ryo ne there is a wide spectrum, but i hope everyone now knows that we are looking out for a temperature above 37.8 celsius, and a new or different cough. there are several other
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symptoms which have come about. a lack of sense of smell in the absence of any other symptoms seems possibly a symptom. likewise, about a third of people who get coronavirus have tummy problems. a third have diarrhoea. prominent feature is headache, and another is feeling achy, and tiredness. a man who has been burning the candle at both ends will be having power naps of up to 20 hours. i hope that while he has an awful lot on his plate, he really does look after himself. depending on your age and underlying conditions, your risk of more severe complications, requiring hospital admission and ventilation, that
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depends on whether you have other conditions. most people will feel better within a week. the fever will go and they can stop isolating a week later if there fever has gone and they feel well, even if they have some residual cough. despite the prime minister's mild symptoms, his relatively young age and good health, is their medication that someone who faces his challenges can ta ke to someone who faces his challenges can take to assist their recovery? it's about supportive treatments. paracetamol. i'd be proven, because of reports from france about a possible increase in the risk of
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severe complications, —— i do prevent —— ibuprofen, is not advice. there are trials of other drugs that are not licensed. all the normal rule books have been torn up because we are trying to get answers current than normal. —— quicker than normal. there is no clear evidence of one drug that will help. of concern is that boris johnson's fiance is several months pregnant. is there anything she should be doing to protect herself? she should be isolating herself from him for 14
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days. the royal college of obstetricians has produced updated guidelines. we have not seen more serious complications among women who are pregnant. there have been a few cases of women delivering prematurely if they have had covid—19. we don't yet know if they delivered because of the covid—19 or they had symptoms and their medical tea m they had symptoms and their medical team decided to deliver them early for their own safety. there is no evidence of transmission from mother to baby inside the womb. we would recommend that when the baby is born, any woman with coronavirus does breast—feed but takes extra precautions, possibly expressing milk so that someone else can feed the baby that wonderful breastmilk.
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wonderful to talk to you. let's turn to political reaction. the former conservative leader iain duncan smith gave us his reaction to the news of the prime minister's infection. i am sorry for him and his pregnant girlfriend, because it must be a worry. he has the burden of decision—making on all our beehives. that's an important feature to recognise. he is having to make these decisions at the same time and continue —— on all
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our behalf. he has been doing so much in the last few weeks trying to keep morale up, to talk to doctors and nurses and the emergency services. it has been a tremendous effort on his part. this underlines the importance of the social distancing measures which only recently came into effect. to be fairto recently came into effect. to be fair to boris, he has spent all his time trying to urge the people to recognise the threat and what they can do about it. he has been saying, please, observe these social distancing point, don't go out in groups, avoid things that you have
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been asked to. against his real instincts, he has had to clamp with emergency legislation, to give police powers to move people on. it is alien to his culture and nature, and that of britain. but he has taken those decisions, and it brings home, no matter how high you be, you are under threat from the covid—19 strain. unless you are prepared to step up and do what you have been asked, the chances are it will continue to spread. there is a sense we are beginning to get on top of it. a sense of relief from some quarters that some of the major decisions on social distancing and the economy have been taken, and that this is not the worst moment that this is not the worst moment that news like this could happen.
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no. this tells us that even the prime minister and a member of the royalfamily, prince prime minister and a member of the royal family, prince charles prime minister and a member of the royalfamily, prince charles has prime minister and a member of the royal family, prince charles has the symptoms. it is not a case ofjust one symptoms. it is not a case ofjust u symptoms. it is not a case ofjust one group likely to get this, it's everybody in the uk. if people in the uk do not observe this critical social distancing, all the rules, they are not there because people wa nt to they are not there because people want to be awkward but because this is the consequence of failing to do this earlier. anybody can get this. you get it and don't realise and can spread it. boris johnson you get it and don't realise and can spread it. borisjohnson has been saying endlessly, please, observe these rules. just the announcement
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from the chancellor yesterday and last week, business loans, supporting pay for people in employment and the self—employed, they are on a scale unseen in this country at any time, and they are real commitments to make sure we get through this. we will get through this. the british people are resilient, and the economy is very strong, but we have to do what we've been asked to get through this quickly. we were watching as we were listening to you pictures of the prime minister and the chancellor in downing street last night, observing a two metre distance as they applauded the carers across our health front line. now, we are
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watching pictures a couple of days earlier of the prime minister that less tha n earlier of the prime minister that less than two metres from scientific advisers. should the social distancing rules have come in earlier in westminster, in downing street and across government? the prime minister has observed that to me to distancing throughout. the difference with the press conferences is that they were not facing each other. they have stayed two metres apart throughout their previous discussions. we have to hope this has been enough to ensure that the advisers won't come down with this. i'm convinced the prime minister has kept his distance as far as humanly possible. no matter what, he was right to come out and
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applaud a magnificent work of the nhs and the emergency services, notwithstanding the fact they are losing colleagues who are coming down and having to be treated. we are all in this together. there is no one who can step above it, from the royal family down to the most vulnerable, we are in this together. earlier, i spoke to editor of conservative home, paul goodman. earlier, i spoke to editor of conservative home, paul goodmanm could mean everything or nothing. if the illness is brief, he will carry on what he is doing by video conferencing and other means. the timing could be worse. if it had happen on the verge of a major decision, like the lockdown decision earlier this week, it would be very
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bad timing. the main stress must be on increasing testing and providing equipment, and that is in the hands of ministers. they should carry on driving it forward anyway. i'm not sure this makes as much difference as one might immediately think. many will be reassured by seeing the video message in which the prime minister looked a typically bullish, confident, and sounded optimistic. we have to see what happens next. we know from experience that this virus can go one for the best part of two weeks. there are structures to support the government. if necessary, dominic raab will take charge. the country could bear that for a week or fortnight as long as
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no really major decision had to be taken. the main stress must be on getting those tests and getting the equipment out to nhs staff. let's look at some key details in relation to this news this morning. the prime minister was tested at ten downing
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