The first MP to contract coronavirus was a British health minister who mixed up with hundreds of individuals last week, Foreign Media confirmed Wednesday.
Nadine Dorries attended a reception at Downing Street with Boris Johnson on Thursday and fell ill on Friday. She is self-isolating after her diagnosis was confirmed Tuesday night. Dorries, the minister for patient safety, had played a leading role in drawing up legislation to tackle the deadly virus that has killed six Brits.
Now health officials are scrambling to trace the hundreds of people she came into contact with in the past week including MPs, civil servants and constituents. The department for health said she first had symptoms last Thursday – the same day she was at a No 10 reception to mark International Women’s Day, attended by Boris and his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds.
Despite feeling ill, Ms Dorries, 62, went ahead with a surgery in her Mid Bedfordshire constituency on Saturday which was attended by 50 people. The Tory MP, who was on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in 2012, said last night: “I can confirm I have tested positive for coronavirus.
“As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home. “Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.
“I would like to thank PHE and the wonderful NHS staff who have provided me with advice and support.” She later tweeted: “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 84-year-old 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.”
Dorries walked through the voting lobbies in the Commons last Wednesday – at a time when she would have been contagious. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said she has “done the right thing by self isolating at home” after she tested positive.
He added: “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.”
Sources close to Hancock said he has not been tested for the virus since finding out about Dorries’ diagnosis and said he was in “good health with no symptoms,” adding: “We don’t have any concerns about him”. It is also understood that the PM is yet to take a test either.
The news raised speculation that Parliament could be shut down or at least restricted for visitors. Officials are now scrambling to get in touch everyone she has been in contact with since contracting the killer bug. Anyone who shows similar symptoms will be tested.