Ministers isolating after contact with Australian politician who tested positive

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Two Cabinet ministers are self-isolating after they were in contact with the Australian Deputy Prime Minister, who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps met Barnaby Joyce in London earlier in the week.

Mr Joyce has since tested positive while travelling to Washington DC and is self-isolating for 10 days.

The news meant Mr Shapps had to pull out of an HS2-related visit to Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, as he was due to mark a major contract signing with Hitachi to manufacture rolling stock.

Mr Shapps tweeted: “Sorry not to be travelling to @HitachiRailENG in County Durham today to welcome huge new @HS2ltd rolling stock contract.

“Have taken precaution of cancelling visit & have taken PCR test after being in contact with Australian Deputy PM this week – who’s tested positive for Covid.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Raab said: “He is getting tested and he is self-isolating while we wait to hear whether the Australian Deputy Prime Minister has Omicron or not.”

Mr Joyce, who is fully vaccinated, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been experiencing mild symptoms and decided to get tested.

He said he will remain in isolation while seeking further advice.