British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Friday that he had tested positive for coronavirus. A photographer who was in close contact with Johnson went to a new temporary hospital in London before falling sick himself.
Andrew Parsons, Boris Johnson’s personal photographer, has fallen sick with the coronavirus, The Sun reports, citing unidentified sources.
It is understood that Parsons displayed “mild symptoms” of the virus and is self-isolating at home, but it wasn’t clear from the report whether he had been tested. Parsons has yet to comment.
The photographer, who had earlier worked for David Cameron during his time as Prime Minister, took snaps of Boris Johnson outside his Downing Street office on 26 March. The following day, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would be staying on self-quarantine.
On the same day, Parsons documented the construction of the NHS Nightingale hospital at London’s ExCel centre, where dozens of workers were present. On 28 March, he photographed staff during a COVID-19 meeting inside the cabinet room of Boris Jonshon’s residence, where the Prime Minister was speaking via video link.
“After Boris was diagnosed, instead of self isolating he (Parsons) went over to the new hospital at ExCel to do pictures,” a source told The Sun.
“Instead of doing the sensible thing he has potentially passed it on to all the squaddies working over there, as well as a number of civil servants and officials he’s been in touch with.”
NHS guidelines do not mandate self-isolation for those who do not display coronavirus symptoms, although some doctors also advice taking this measure as a precaution to individuals who have been in contact with someone who is infected.
The number of coronavirus-related deaths in the UK rose by 381 on Monday – the biggest-yet single-day increase – and reached 1,789. There have been more than 25,000 confirmed cases across the country.
Britain initially took a gradual approach to handling the virus, meant to allow more people to contract the virus and build up “herd immunity”. However, the government backed off that route after a report issued by a group of experts projected it to result in 250,000 deaths. Johnson has since adopted more stringent controls, including a nationwide stay-at-home order, with plans to ramp up testing to 25,000 a day.