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UK PM, chancellor to self-isolate after health secretary tests positive for COVID-19

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-18 20:13
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks on Downing Street in London, Britain, July 14, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will enter quarantine as normal after contact with Health Secretary Sajid Javid who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, Downing Street said Sunday.

This marked a U-turn on the pair's initial decision to avoid self-isolation by taking part in a daily testing pilot scheme, which had caused huge public outrage in the country.

"Whilst the test and trace pilot is fairly restrictive, allowing only essential government business, I recognise that even the sense that the rules aren't the same for everyone is wrong," Sunak said on Twitter.

Javid, the new health secretary who replaced Matt Hancock last month, is now self-isolating at home with his family. He said he has had two jabs of the vaccine and his symptoms are mild.

The British government has confirmed that most COVID-19 restrictions in England will end on Monday as part of the final step, or Step Four, of England's roadmap out of the lockdown. But scientists have warned that lifting all restrictions at this stage could increase likelihood of dangerous variants.

Britain reported on Saturday another 54,674 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 5,386,340, official figures showed. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain has reached 128,683.

More than 87 percent of the Britain's adults have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while over 67 percent have received two jabs, the latest figures showed.

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