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Keir Starmer has tested positive for coronavirus again and will miss today’s PMQs battle with Boris Johnson.

A Labour spokesman revealed the leader has contracted the virus and deputy Angela Rayner will fill in for the Commons session later.

Sir Keir is not thought to have any symptoms but the infection was picked up as part of his regular testing routine. 

It is the latest setback for Sir Keir, who was forced to miss the Budget on October 27 after testing positive that day – just ten weeks ago.

The Omicron strain can evade previous immunity from infection and vaccination. 

Sir Keir has also had to isolate four other times during the pandemic. 

Keir Starmer has tested positive for coronavirus again and will miss today's PMQs battle with Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer has tested positive for coronavirus again and will miss today's PMQs battle with Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer has tested positive for coronavirus again and will miss today’s PMQs battle with Boris Johnson

Sir Keir's deputy Angela Rayner (pictured) will fill in for the Commons session later

Sir Keir's deputy Angela Rayner (pictured) will fill in for the Commons session later

Sir Keir’s deputy Angela Rayner (pictured) will fill in for the Commons session later

Is it REALLY possible to get Covid again within 10 weeks? 

Until recently, scientists believed that Covid reinfections were rare within six months of the initial diagnosis. 

An official UK study of 20,000 Brits who tested positive for Covid last year found just 300 reinfections (one in 66). 

Those who did catch the virus again had an average time of six-and-a-half months (203 days) between positive tests. 

But it is becoming clear that the new Omicron variant can reinfect people much easier than older versions of the virus. 

A major real-world study in South Africa – the strain’s epicentre – indicated Omicron reinfects people at three times the rate of previous variants. 

In the UK, researchers at Imperial College London estimate people who were infected with earlier versions of the virus only have around 19 per cent protection against Omicron. 

For comparison, a Danish study in early 2021 found that previous infection provided between 50 and 80 per cent protection from reinfection for at least six months. 

Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson, a key UK Government Covid adviser, said about 10-15 per cent of Britain’s Omicron cases are now reinfections. 

Given that virtually every new Covid infection in the UK is now Omicron, it is highly likely Sir Keir will have the new strain. 

However, residual signs of Covid infection can show up for three months on a PCR test because the technology is so specific. 

Rapid lateral flows – used more commonly in Westminster – are unlikely to pick up on lingering fragments of a previous infection. But the devices are more prone to giving a false positive result than PCRs. 

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Yesterday Sir Keir addressed an audience in Birmingham where he promised ‘straight leadership’ based on the values of ‘security, prosperity and respect’ if his party is returned to power.

Sir Keir delivered a speech to a small group of city Labour MPs including Jess Phillips, Khalid Mahmood, Jack Dromey, Stephen McCabe and Preet Gill, together with members of the media and party advisers.

Also in the audience of about 20 were Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward, and the West Midlands regional police and crime commissioner Simon Foster.

Ms Phillips, Ms Gill and Cllr Ward also later joined the Labour leader on a tour of a green energy and decarbonisation research site in the Tyseley area of the city, along with members of the press.

Sir Keir tested positive on Budget Day last Autumn minutes before he was due to take on Mr Johnson at PMQs.

On that occasion shadow business secretary Ed Miliband stood in for that session, and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves covered by responding to Rishi Sunak’s financial package. 

Prior to that Sir Keir isolated in July when one of his children tested positive. 

Until recently, scientists believed that Covid reinfections were rare within six months of the initial diagnosis. 

An official UK study of 20,000 Brits who tested positive for Covid last year found just 300 reinfections (one in 66). 

Those who did catch the virus again had an average time of six-and-a-half months (203 days) between positive tests. 

But it is becoming clear that the new Omicron variant can reinfect people much easier than older versions of the virus. 

A major real-world study in South Africa – the strain’s epicentre – indicated Omicron reinfects people at three times the rate of previous variants. 

In the UK, researchers at Imperial College London estimate people who were infected with earlier versions of the virus only have around 19 per cent protection against Omicron. 

For comparison, a Danish study in early 2021 found that previous infection provided between 50 and 80 per cent protection from reinfection for at least six months. 

Imperial College London’s Professor Neil Ferguson, a key UK Government Covid adviser, said about 10-15 per cent of Britain’s Omicron cases are now reinfections. 

Sir Keir was forced to miss the Budget on October 27 after testing positive that day - just ten weeks ago

Sir Keir was forced to miss the Budget on October 27 after testing positive that day - just ten weeks ago

Sir Keir was forced to miss the Budget on October 27 after testing positive that day – just ten weeks ago

Source: Daily Mail

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