PM Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus.
Johnson said he developed mild symptoms over the past 24 hours, including a temperature and cough.
He is now in self-isolation in No 10 but will ‘continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus’.
Johnson was last seen on Thursday night, as he clapped outside No 10 as part of a nationwide gesture to thank NHS staff.
In a video on his Twitter account, Johnson said: ‘I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.
‘But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.
‘I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS staff.’
He was tested at No 10 by NHS staff, on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, Downing Street said.
He will still be in charge of the government’s handling of the crisis, the statement added.
However the likelihood is that a frenzied struggle for the Tory leadership will break out.
There are more than 11,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, and 578 people have died.
Earlier this week, the prime minister’s spokesman confirmed that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, as the first secretary of state, was the selected minister to stand in if Johnson became unwell.
Health Secretary Hancock has also fallen victim to the coronavirus.
- The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests.
According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589).
But with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215).
The grim milestone came as President Donald Trump predicted the nation would get back to work ‘pretty quickly’.
Asked about the latest figures at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said it was ‘a tribute to the amount of testing that we’re doing’.
Vice-President Mike Pence said coronavirus tests were now available in all 50 states and more than 552,000 tests had been conducted nationwide.
Trump has changed his tune on China tweeting that he had had a ‘very good conversation’ with China’s President Xi Jinping.
‘China has been through much and has developed a strong understanding of the virus. We are working closely together. Much respect!’ President Trump said.