UK business secretary tests negative for coronavirus

Alok Sharma was tested after appearing visibly unwell during a statement in the Commons.

UK business secretary tests negative for coronavirus PA Media

UK business secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for coronavirus after taking ill on Wednesday.

He took a test after appearing visibly unwell while giving a statement in the House of Commons.

In line with public health guidance, the minister had been self-isolating while he waited for his results.

A spokeswoman for Sharma said: “Business secretary Alok Sharma has received a negative result after being tested for coronavirus yesterday.

“Mr Sharma would like to thank the parliamentary authorities and Speaker and also for the kind words from parliamentary colleagues and others who have expressed their well wishes over the last 24 hours.”

It emerged earlier in the day he had taken part in a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday.

Had the business secretary tested positive, Johnson and Sunak could have been told to self-isolate for 14 days as part of the contact tracing process.

It follows controversy over the move from the UK Government to abandon remote or virtual voting in the House of Commons and return to voting in person.

Westminster saw chaotic scenes on Tuesday as MPs were forced to join a huge queue – compared by one MP to Alton Towers – in order to vote on how to vote in future.

The queue stretched for several hundred metres, snaking through Westminster Hall and running to Portcullis House, the newer part of the parliamentary estate.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael dubbed the abandonment of virtual voting “as unacceptable as it is dangerous”.

On Wednesday, Sharma was seen mopping his brow while struggling at the despatch box during parliamentary business.

A Commons spokeswoman said “additional cleaning” had taken place following the business secretary’s appearance.

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