Two MPs self-isolate over coronavirus fears

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Alex Sobel and Lilian Greenwood (Parliament/Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))

Two MPs have said they are self-isolating over coronavirus fears.

Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West, said on Friday that he called 111 to be formally assessed.

A spokesman for Sobel said he was not unwell and had no symptoms, but had decided to self-isolate at home until next week as a precaution. Sobel himself later joked he had a “pile” of Netflix shows to watch while at home.

Lilian Greenwood, the MP for Nottingham South, also said she was cancelling all her engagements until Thursday next week. “I’m feeling completely well,” she added.

Sobel, a Labour and Co-operative MP, and Greenwood, a Labour MP, were at the same London conference last week as an attendee who later tested positive for coronavirus.

In a statement on Twitter, Sobel wrote: “I attended the UK bus summit on the 6th Feb, where there was an attendee who has tested positive for coronavirus. Whilst I have been informed that I am at very low risk, I have called 111 to be formally assessed.

“As a precaution, we have cancelled all engagements until next Thursday when the 14-day potential incubation period will end. If you think you may have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, self-isolate and call 111 for an assessment more here.”

Sobel later told Sky News: “Because I’m an MP, right now I should be at surgeries in my constituency. We thought a reasonable precaution would be to self-isolate.

“I will be isolating myself in my home and I won’t be intending to leave the house until next Wednesday.

“I’ve got a pile of things to do, things to read, things to write, Netflix to watch. I’m sure I’ll be fine, I might just get a little bit stir crazy but that’s obviously much more important – that I isolate myself in case I am a risk.”

Sobel and Greenwood were at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster.

Transport Times, the conference organiser, emailed attendees on Thursday afternoon informing them that a person confirmed to be suffering from coronavirus – also known as Covid-19 – had been at the event.

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Dr Yimmy Chow, consultant in health protection at Public Health England, said: “One of our main priorities has been to identify any people who we think have been in close contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to provide public health advice, as they may be at slightly increased risk of catching the virus.

“While the degree of contact conference delegates may have had with the case is unlikely to have been significant, we have taken a precautionary approach and informed them of the situation.”

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The PA news agency reported the case is not linked to the ninth patient with coronavirus in the UK – a woman from China.

Two staff from Lewisham Hospital in south London are now in isolation at home after coming into contact with the woman.

As of Friday, there had been 1,383 coronavirus deaths worldwide. Of these, 1,381 have been in China, where the virus originated.

Covid-19: The confirmed cases around the world