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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were not set to self-isolate despite holding a 45-minute meeting with Alok Sharma, who was tested for the coronavirus

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak held a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday with Alok Sharma, the business secretary, before he self-isolated with suspected coronavirus symptoms.Sharma appeared sweaty and unwell while addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday.Under the UK’s new test-and-trace scheme, people must isolate for 14 days if…

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak held a 45-minute meeting on Tuesday with Alok Sharma, the business secretary, before he self-isolated with suspected coronavirus symptoms.
  • Sharma appeared sweaty and unwell while addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday.
  • Under the UK’s new test-and-trace scheme, people must isolate for 14 days if they have come into sustained and close contact with somebody who tests positive for the virus.
  • Johnson’s spokesman insisted that both men maintained a distance from Sharma during the meeting.
  • Sharma later revealed that he had tested negative for the virus.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman indicated that neither he nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak would self-isolate even if Alok Sharma, the business secretary, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sharma placed himself into isolation on Thursday after he appeared sweaty and unwell while answering questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Sharma attended a 45-minute meeting with Johnson and Sunak, Downing Street confirmed on Thursday.

He announced later on Thursday that he had tested negative for the virus.

Under the UK government’s new test-and-trace scheme, anyone who comes into close and sustained contact with somebody who tests positive for the coronavirus must self-isolate for 14 days.

However, prior to the test results, Johnson’s spokesman indicated that the two men might not need to self-isolate because they maintained social distancing during the meeting.

“The meeting which took place in No. 10 in the Cabinet room was properly socially distanced,” the spokesman said.

“So they were all 2 metres apart. If the secretary of state were to test positive for coronavirus, he will go through the test-and-trace process and follow the advice which they give to him.”

He added: “Don’t treat it as ‘you’ve been in a room with someone, therefore you need to self-isolate.’ There’s more to it than that.”

—RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 3, 2020

Asked at the daily Downing Street press briefing if Johnson would self-isolate, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the prime minister “has always been two metres apart from Alok Sharma.”

The government has been heavily criticized in recent days after forcing members of Parliament to return to the House of Commons in person.

MPs on Wednesday spent almost two hours waiting in long queues to vote to abolish the virtual sittings that had taken place during the lockdown.

—Charlotte Nichols (@charlotte2153) June 2, 2020

Sharma could be seen queuing near multiple other members of Parliament.

More than 20 Conservative MPs rebelled against the government, with disquiet among both opposition and government benches about the decision to end virtual sittings.

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