Health minister sorry for staying in meeting despite testing positive for Covid

9 February 2022, 08:42 | Updated: 9 February 2022, 09:38

Gillian Keegan apologised for staying in a meeting after testing positive for Covid
Gillian Keegan apologised for staying in a meeting after testing positive for Covid. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A health minister has apologised for staying in a meeting despite testing positive for Covid.

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Gillian Keegan said she is now isolating but received a positive lateral flow test during a meeting on Tuesday with fathers whose daughters took their own lives.

Instead of leaving to self-isolate, she told them that it appeared she had Covid and stayed to speak with them, having had their consent, the Tory MP said on Twitter.

"I should have immediately ended the meeting and on reflection this was an error of judgment on my part," she said.

"I fully recognise the importance of following the letter and spirit of the policies, so want to be upfront about what happened and to apologise for the mistake I made."

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A spokesman for Ms Keegan's boss Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said he accepted her apology.

"The Secretary of State has spoken with the minister who has taken responsibility for her actions and made a full apology," he said.

"He accepts her apology and continues to support her in her role."

Ms Keegan, the care and mental health minister, said she was meeting three fathers.

"I told them the result and took further precautions but with their consent, I stayed for a short period to hear their stories," she said.

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England's Covid rules say anyone who tests positive should self isolate "straight away".

They should quarantine from the day they test and then 10 full days, but can leave after five if they meet certain conditions, including testing negative.

Ms Keegan, the MP for Chichester, said she had taken the lateral flow test before a planned visit as a precaution. She is now isolating at home and feels fine.

Read more: France to relax travel restrictions for fully vaccinated in half-term boost for Brits

David Lammy, Labour's shadow foreign secretary and LBC presenter, tweeted: "An unhealthy minister determined to make everyone else unhealthy. Whatever next with @borisjohnson gov".

One Twitter user questioned why she didn't migrate the meeting onto a Zoom call, which they suggested could have been sorted in under half an hour.

Another questioned why the minister did not leave enough time to get the test result back before the get-together, and a different user branded her approach to testing herself "completely irresponsible".

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