LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Friday, making him likely the first leader among the Group of Seven industrialized countries to be infected with the illness.
Matt Hancock, secretary of health and social care, has also tested positive for the virus. The country's coronavirus infections have surpassed 11,000 with fatalities reaching more than 570 as of Thursday, according to British health authorities.
Johnson started experiencing "mild symptoms" of the illness on Thursday and will be self-isolating in his official residence, where he will "continue to lead the government's response to coronavirus," his office said.
"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," he said in a video message.
Johnson went on to thank the National Health Service and everyone involved in keeping the country running. He urged everyone to stay at home and observe government guidelines on movement.
Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) March 27, 2020
I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.
Together we will beat this. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/9Te6aFP0Ri
The development comes after Johnson announced new measures on Monday restrict people's movements to stave off the spread of the coronavirus.
Apart from essential workers who cannot do their jobs from home, people are only allowed to go out for a limited number of reasons including fetching daily necessities, exercising once per day and caring for the sick.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, has also tested positive for coronavirus, his office said earlier this week.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Johnson over the phone and offered wishes for a "speedy recovery," the White House said.
Trump and Johnson also agreed "to collaborate closely," along with other international partners, "to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and boost the global economy," it said, adding that the two leaders "expressed optimism that the two countries would emerge stronger than ever."