Health minister Nadine Dorries has become the first MP to test positive for coronavirus (Covid-19).
The 62-year-old Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, is believed to have begun feeling ill last Friday, before developing the typical symptoms, including a dry cough, chest pain and high temperature, over the weekend.
As part of her role as minister for patient safety, suicide prevention and mental health at the Department of Health and Social Care, she contributed to the Government’s plans to tackle the virus.
Public Health England (PHE) is now tracing her recent contacts, including other MPs. She attended various events last week, including a Downing Street reception hosted by the Prime Minister.
Thanks for so many good wishes. It’s been pretty rubbish but I hope I’m over the worst of it now. More worried about my 84yo mum who is staying with me and began with the cough today. She is being tested tomorrow. Keep safe and keep washing those hands, everyone.
— Nadine Dorries 🇬🇧 (@NadineDorries) March 10, 2020
Ms Dorries’ Parliamentary office has been closed for deep-cleaning, on the advice of PHE, although it has not recommended that Parliament is suspended. Her aide is also believed to have the virus.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Really sorry to hear Nadine has tested positive for coronavirus. 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.
‘I understand why people are worried about this disease. We will do all we can to keep people safe, based on the best possible science.’
However, a number of GPs have expressed confusion with how Ms Dorries acquired a test, despite not fitting the current criteria, when symptomatic healthcare workers are being declined.
York MP Rachael Maskell announced she has gone into self-isolation, on the advice of NHS 111. She met Ms Dorries on Thursday, and stated: ‘Thankfully I am asymptomatic. It is so important that we all follow all public health advice.’
Fellow MPs Lilian Greenwood and Alex Sobel also self-isolated last month after attending a Westminster event later linked to Covid-19.