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Boris Johnson has tested negative for coronavirus but will continue his 14-day self-isolation in line with current rules, Downing Street has revealed.
The prime minister was forced to quarantine in his flat and office on Sunday night after NHS Test and Trace told him he was a “close contact” of a Tory MP who tested positive.
Johnson had been in a meeting in No.10 last Thursday with several MPs and aides, all of whom have also had to self-isolate for a fortnight since that event.
Even though the PM has said he is “bursting with antibodies” because he contracted the virus earlier this year, he will still have to complete the full period of isolation under government rules.
No.10 said that Johnson took a lateral flow test as part of a pilot scheme open to Downing Street staff.
His period of isolation will end at midnight next Thursday, November 26.
“The PM took a test yesterday and that test was negative,” his spokesperson said.
“But he will, in accordance with the rules on self-isolation, continue to self-isolate.”
Johnson has been working remotely via Zoom calls since he was “pinged” – his own word for receiving an email – by the tracing service.
He chaired his weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday remotely and will answer prime minister’s questions in the Commons via Zoom on Wednesday too, his official spokesperson said.
People who self-isolate for 14 days after coming into contact with a positive case are not usually eligible for a test unless they develop symptoms.
But Johnson has benefited from the fact that Downing Street staff are considered “key workers” and have been taking part in a two week trial of the lateral flow tests which offer 30-minute turnaround times for results.
His spokesperson pointed out that there were a number of different tests being piloted around the country, including the mass testing scheme in Liverpool.
“We are piloting these in a wide variety of settings at the moment. We are using them in schools, universities, workplaces, Liverpool.
“In No 10 we are taking part in a pilot where some staff have access to a lateral flow test if they wish to.”
The PM used Twitter on Monday to set out why he was quarantining.
Hi folks, I’ve been instructed by our NHS Test & Trace scheme to self-isolate for two weeks, after being in contact with someone with Covid-19.
I’m in good health and have no symptoms, and will continue to lead on our response to the virus & our plans to #BuildBackBetter pic.twitter.com/yNgIme8lOz
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 16, 2020
Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care with coronavirus seven months ago, spent about 35 minutes with backbencher Lee Anderson - who lost his sense of taste the day after the meeting last Thursday.
Five other MPs are also self-isolating following the meeting with “Red Wall” Tories, including Chris Clarkson, Katherine Fletcher, Andy Carter, Lia Nici
and Brendan Clarke-Smith.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.