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Who will take over now that Boris Johnson has coronavirus?

Who will take over now Boris Johnson has coronavirus?
(Ltor) Matt Hancock, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Priti Patel (Picture: Getty Images/PA/REX)

The Foreign Secretary could step-in to lead the country after the Prime Minister tested positive for coronavirus.

Boris Johnson, 55, has mild symptoms and is still expected to be in charge of how the Government handles the Covid-19 pandemic. But plans already in place for if he were to get sick mean Dominic Raab would temporarily take on the role of PM.

A Downing Street spokesman said as Foreign Secretary, Raab is First Secretary of State – implying seniority over everyone else in the cabinet. If the so-called ‘designated survivor’ also became sick, Johnson would be able to delegate responsibility to any of the other senior ministers.

But the spokesperson said for the time being ‘it’s the Prime Minister and then the Foreign Secretary’. Raab had twice tested negative for Covid-19 after he was seen coughing in the House of Commons.

epa08315437 British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab after attending a meeting at 10 Downing Street, Central London, Britain, 23 March 2020. The British government has urged the public to continue to practise public distancing in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. EPA/WILL OLIVER
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is likely to step in for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister (Picture: EPA)

Ministers had reportedly been lobbying for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove to take the reins if Johnson fell ill or if he decided to take paternity leave for his child due later this year.

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According to The Sunday Times, there have been ‘tensions’ between Gove and the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, ‘over where responsibilities begin and end’.

The pair both stood alongside Raab in the Conservative leadership election to replace Theresa May as prime minister last year.

A Downing Street spokesman said Johnson experienced mild symptoms yesterday, a day after he answered at PMQ’s in the House of Commons.

Screengrab of a post on the twitter feed @BorisJohnson of Prime Minister Boris Johnson making the announcement that he has tested positive for coronavirus. PA Photo. Issue date: Friday March 27, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: @BorisJohnson/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Boris Johnson revealed he tested positive for Covid-19 on his twitter account (Picture: PA)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Thomas/REX (10577800r) Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, arrives at the Cabinet Office Emergency COBRA meeting, London, UK - 9 Mar 2020
Some ministers had reportedly been lobbying for Michael Gove to take the reins if the PM became sick or took paternity leave (Picture: REX)

In a video conference he said: ‘Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus. I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.’

It was not immediately clear how many Downing Street staff and senior ministers would now need to isolate given that many have had contact with Johnson over recent days and weeks.

When Britain clapped hard working NHS staff last night, Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak came out of separate entrances on Downing Street and did not come into close contact, according to a photographer at the scene.

So far, 578 people in the UK have died after testing positive for coronavirus and the number of confirmed cases has risen to 11,658.

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The national toll is the seventh worst in the world, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the United States.

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Source: Metro News UK

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