British business minister tested for Covid-19 after lawmakers return to parliament

Alok Sharma arrives in Downing Street in London

A senior British minister has tested negative for Covid-19 after he wiped his face several times and appeared unwell while speaking in Parliament. If the secretary of state were to test positive for coronavirus, he will go through the test-and-trace process and follow the advice which they give to him."He added: "Don't treat it as 'you've been in a room with someone, therefore you need to self-isolate.' There's more to it than that".

Transport minister Grant Shapps earlier said Sharma is "doing fine" after being taken ill in parliament. "He's awaiting his test results", Shapps told a news conference.

Amid concerns that cabinet members and MPs could be asked to self-isolate, Sharma disclosed on Thursday evening that his test had come back as negative and they could return to work.

Mr Sharma's condition also reignited concern over the scrapping of virtual Parliament this week, and the return of MPs to Westminster.

Mr Sharma was tested for Covid-19 and entered self-isolation after he was seen mopping his brow while struggling at the despatch box during the second reading of the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill yesterday.

A United Kingdom business minister awaiting Covid-19 test results conducted a meeting with Boris Johnson just hours before becoming ill in the House of Commons, meaning the prime minister may have to self-isolate yet again.

'[Mr Sharma] did attend a meeting in No 10, which took place before Cabinet.

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Earlier in the day, Boris Johnson ended PMQs by heading towards the chamber exit but stopping for a chat with a Conservative colleague, thereby walking over hazard tape on the floor created to encourage MPs to keep two metres apart.

And Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg also defended the move, saying: "It is important that while we are here, we follow the social distancing rules".

The suspected case of Covid-19 in the chamber came a day after MPs approved the Government's plan to end virtual voting in the Commons, prompting renewed calls for the system to return.

"We believe Parliament has opened too soon and the lives of PCS members, and those of our sister unions, are being put at risk unnecessarily", general secretary Mark Serwotka wrote.

He said: "Across the country people are going back to work".

'I don't want to be premature because Alok, who I wish well and hope he recovers quickly, may well have had severe hay fever, we're not sure yet, ' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael has been granted an emergency debate on how to conduct business in the Commons during the pandemic, which will take place on Monday.

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