In Depth

Famous people with coronavirus: from Boris Johnson to Greta Thunberg

Prime minister joins a growing list of famous people to become infected

Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, Downing Street has confirmed.

Johnson has mild symptoms and will self-isolate in Downing Street, according to a statement. He will still be in charge of the government's handling of the crisis.

The statement said: “He was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty.” The test was carried out at 10 Downing Street by NHS staff.

In a tweet, Johnson 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. Together we will beat this.”

Johnson was seen last night as he stepped onto Downing Street to join the eight o’clock applause for NHS staff alongside Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The PM joins a growing number of famous faces who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Here are some of the other well-known names who have tested positive so far.

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Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week and is displaying mild symptoms. A spokesperson for Prince Charles, 71, said that he is self-isolating at Balmoral, “but otherwise remains in good health”.

His wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, 72, has been tested but does not have the virus. Buckingham Palace said the Queen last saw her son, the heir to the throne, on 12 March, but was “in good health”. 

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who inspired the global school climate strikes, says it is “extremely likely” she has had the Covid-19 virus.

The teenager said in a post on Instagram that she had entered self-isolation after returning from a trip around central Europe about two weeks ago. A few days later she said she began to feel ill, feeling tired with “shivers, sore throat and cough”. 

Thunberg said she had not been tested for the virus, in line with the policy in Sweden, and had now “basically recovered”.

Mikel Arteta

Shortly before all professional football in England - and further afield - was indefinitely put on hold, the Premier League was rudely awakened to the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak when Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus, which causes Covid-19 disease, on 12 March.

However, the former Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City player is now on the road to recovery.

“We’re pleased to say Mikel is feeling much better,” reads part of an open letter to fans in the name of directors, players and staff of Arsenal. “He’s in good spirits, doing detailed planning with the coaches and speaking to the players regularly.”

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson

The first Hollywood A-lister confirmed to be infected was Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who announced their diagnoses on 11 March.

The couple are now in self-quarantine in Australia, where Hanks was preparing to begin filming for director Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated Elvis Presley biopic when he began feeling unwell.

The Telegraph reports that the actor said he felt like he had a cold, while Wilson suffered chills.

“Well, now. What to do next? The medical officials have protocols that must be followed,” Hanks said on Instagram. “We Hanks will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves!”

Prince Albert II

The Palace of Monaco confirmed last Thursday that Prince Albert II has tested positive for Covid-19, but said that his health “is not worrying at all”.

The 62-year-old is the first reigning monarch or head of state to publicly announce a diagnosis for the coronavirus-caused respiratory disease.

The Palace said Albert was being treated by specialists from London’s Princess Grace Hospital, named after his late mother, US actor Grace Kelly.

US News reports that the Prince is “continuing to work from his home office in the palace and is in constant contact with members of his government”.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau

The wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on 12 March that she had tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a brief trip to the UK.

According to an official statement from the PM’s office, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and her husband are in self-isolation for a period of two weeks.

Idris Elba

British actor Idris Elba shared a video via Twitter on 16 March to announce that he had become infected.

The Luther star said that he was asymptomatic but had decided to go for testing after discovering that he had exposed to someone who had been diagnosed with the virus - widely speculated to be Sophie Trudeau, whom he met during a charity event in London on 4 March.

“This morning I got some test results back for coronavirus, and it came back positive, and it sucks,” Elba said in the clip, before adding that he was “doing OK”.

Michel Barnier

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is in self-isolation after getting a positive diagnosis last week.

In a statement on Twitter, the French politician said: “I would like to inform you that I have tested positive [for] Covid-19. I’m fine, morale is good. I naturally follow all the instructions, just like my team.”

“For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together,” he added. “I feel as good as possible and I am strictly confined to my home.”

Harvey Weinstein

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for coronavirus in prison, where he is beginning a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault. The 68-year-old is reported to be one of two infected prisoners at the Wende Correctional Facility, near Buffalo in upstate New York.

Weinstein is now in isolation, according to Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association. 


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