British MP Nadine Dorries, a health minister, tested positive for coronavirus, she said in a statement Tuesday, raising concerns about whether senior government officials were affected.
“I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus… and have been self-isolating at home,” said the Conservative MP.
Health officials are now trying to track where she must have contracted the virus and with whom she was in contact, she said.
Six people have reportedly died from the virus in Britain, and more than 370 have confirmed cases.
The first British politician to be diagnosed with COVID-19 is Dorries, who helped draft the law to address the virus.
The Times reported hundreds of people, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had been in contact with her.
She fell sick on Friday when signing the document that declared coronavirus a notifiable disease, ensuring that insurance cover could be sought from insurers, the paper reported, adding that she was now thought to be recovering.
“I would like to thank… the wonderful NHS staff who have provided me with advice and support,” she said, referring to Britain’s National Health Service.
The alarming news is likely to increase demands for parliament to be dissolved, given the reluctance of the government to do so in the midst of a health crisis.
Her manager, Matt Hancock, who leads the response from Britain, tweeted that he was “sorry to hear Nadine’s coronavirus test has been positive.
“She has done the right thing by self isolating at home, and both NHS and PHE staff have been brilliant. We all wish her well as she recovers,” he added. PHE refers to Public Health England.
“We will do all we can to keep people safe, based on the best possible science.”
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will unveil the government’s first post-Brexit budget on Wednesday, with all eyes on country emergency measures to relieve the economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak.
He is supposed to provide the state-run National Health Service with whatever it needs to help combat the epidemic and provide temporary support for companies affected by cash flow problems.
Incoming head of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey last week said UK-based companies would need assistance in the face of supply disruption caused by the virus.
Budget airlines Ryanair and EasyJet said that they will suspend all Italian flights until early April, after the government ordered the whole country to be locked down due to the virus, leaving thousands of people unable to reach home.