Covid-19: UK minister Alok Sharma goes into self-isolation
Agra-born Sharma, 52, is the latest member of the Johnson government affected by the virus, after the prime minister, health secretary Matt Hancock and defence secretary Ben Wallace, among other ministers in the UK.Updated: Jun 04, 2020 07:29 IST
Alok Sharma, a cabinet minister in the Boris Johnson government holding the business portfolio, was tested for coronavirus and went into self-isolation on Wednesday evening after feeling unwell while making a statement in the House of Commons.
Agra-born Sharma, 52, is the latest member of the Johnson government affected by the virus, after the prime minister, health secretary Matt Hancock and defence secretary Ben Wallace, among other ministers in the UK.
A spokeswoman for Sharma said, “Alok Sharma began feeling unwell when in the chamber delivering the second reading of the corporate governance and insolvency bill. In line with guidance, he has been tested for coronavirus and is returning home to self-isolate.”
While delivering the statement, Sharma, who is also COP26 president, was seen repeatedly wiping his face with a handkerchief, while the shadow business secretary, Ed Miliband, passed him a glass of water.
Sharma’s condition brought into focus the new arrangements in the House of Commons, by which MPs who were in self-isolation were no longer allowed to participate or vote remotely but had to be present in person. It led to long queues around the Westminster complex on Tuesday during a vote.
Lisa Nandy, shadow foreign secretary, described Sharma’s situation as “just awful”, and added, “The government stopped MPs from working from home and asked us to return to a building where social distancing is impossible. MPs are travelling home to every part of the country tonight. Reckless doesn’t even begin to describe it.”