The International Development Secretary said she was one of the increasing number of MPs self-isolating for seven days in a bid to stem the spread of the disease int he heart of politics
Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has tested negative for coronavirus, she revealed today as Parliament’s decision-makers came under mounting pressure to ban visitors.
The International Development Secretary said she was one of the increasing number of MPs self-isolating for seven days in a bid to stem the spread of the disease int he heart of politics.
She was tested after coming into contact with health minister Nadine Dorries, who tested positive for the coronavirus, at the International Women’s Day event hosted by Boris Johnson in Downing Street on March 5.
Two other Tory MPs announced they were in self-isolation, one after coming into contact with Ms Dorries and the other saying he had exhibited some symptoms.
Tory MPs William Wragg and Alex Chalk said they were now staying at home, joining a handful of other parliamentarians who have already taken themselves out of circulation in Westminster.
Mr Wragg said he had made the decision after developing symptoms while Mr Chalk, a junior justice minister, said he had been advised to self-isolate after having a conversation ‘with an infected colleague last week’.
The growing number of MPs in self-isolation has increased calls for tougher action to be taken in Parliament amid demands for visitors and tourists to be barred from entering the estate.
Meanwhile, ministers are believed to be preparing for the prospect of having to work from home by trialling so-called ‘electronic red boxes’.
There are growing calls for Parliament to ban visitors as the number of MPs self-isolating increases
Tory MP William Wragg said he was self-isolating after developing symptoms yesterday
Tory justice minister Alex Chalk said he was self-isolating after having a conversation with an ‘infected colleague’ last week
The red briefcases carried by ministers are an iconic part of British democracy and they are filled every day by officials with crucial documents which have to be read and signed off.
The government is reportedly rolling out a system which will allow ministers to access a digital version of their red box so that if they do have to self-isolate they can still work.
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: ‘It’s like a normal day, except you get to do it in bed rather than the office.’
Boris Johnson yesterday announced that anyone who has a persistent cough or fever should self-isolate for seven days.
The number of MPs in self-isolation is now approaching double figures.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen yesterday confirmed he was self-isolating after he had lunch with Nadine Dorries, the health minister, who has tested positive for coronavirus.
Other MPs in self-isolation include health minister Edward Argar and shadow minister Rachael Maskell.
Mr Wragg tweeted late last night: ‘Given symptoms that have developed today, I’m following the up-to-date medical advice and will isolate myself for the next week.
‘I will be using the NHS website to seek further advice and arrange to undertake any necessary tests.’
Meanwhile, Mr Chalk wrote on Facebook: ‘Following a conversation I had with an infected colleague last week, Public Health England have advised me (and one or two others I understand) to self-isolate for a few days.
‘The advice is given out of an abundance of caution, but I of course accept it.’
He added: ‘I should say that I feel absolutely as right as rain, and will be able to carry on a great deal of my constituency and ministerial duties from here.’
Mr Bridgen told The Guardian he believed Parliament should have already moved to ban visitors.
‘I said two weeks ago we should have closed parliament to visitors,’ he said.
‘Parliament is like an airport – we have got people coming in from all over the world.
‘Security have said to me that they have to pat people down from all around the world. We should have stopped visitors coming here two weeks ago. It would only need to be temporary.’
Ministers are now believed to be trialling ‘digital red boxes’ so they can continue to work from home if they have to self-isolate
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons Leader, said yesterday that Parliament will remain open and must ‘go ahead at the same pace as the rest of the country’ when it comes to responding to the outbreak.
The government is expected to bring forward emergency coronavirus-related legislation next week.
Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘It is of fundamental importance that we keep this place open.
‘But it is also important that we are treated and we treat ourselves in the same way as the rest of the country, and that we go ahead at the same pace as the rest of the country.
‘There should not be a difference in how Parliament is behaving from the advice that is being given to our constituents and I think that is important – we shouldn’t try and seek to be a special case for ourselves.’