Coronavirus chaos: Parliament panics as Cabinet minister awaits results – MPs self-isolate

The unnamed minister has withdrawn from their regular parliamentary duties after coming into close contact with health minister Nadine Dorries, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday evening. The Cabinet minister was tested for coronavirus on Wednesday and is due to receive their test results this morning, sources have revealed.n Fellow Health Minister Edward Argar also remained at home after having lunch with Ms Dorries in Parliament last week.

Fears were raised over his health when he was spotted coughing in the Dispatch Box in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Sources close to Mr Argar insisted he felt “fine” and was not showing any of the symptoms closely associated with coronavirus.

But he reportedly chose to remain at home as precaution, and had even caught advice from Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, asking him whether it was safe to return to Parliament or to stay at home.

But The Daily Telegraph has claimed four other ministers are now believed to be in self-isolation.

Sir Charles Walker the Conservative MP for Broxbourne and chairman of the House of Commons procedure committee, placed himself into self-isolation on Wednesday and was due to be tested for coronavirus.

He insisted to The Daily Telegraph he was “really fine”, but decided to remain at home as a precaution after having an “engaged discussion” with Ms Dorries in Parliament last week.

The latest scare has sparked fears throughout Westminster the killer bug – which has so far killed six people in the UK with nearly 500 confirmed cases – could now be quickly spreading throughout Parliament.

Public Health England is desperately trying to trace people who may have come into contact with Ms Dorries, including up to 10 people who attended a recentInternational Women’s Day event in Downing Street.

Attendees included Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, three female Cabinet ministers, former Olympic gold medal winning athlete Dame KellyHomes, and a number of schoolchildren.

Senior Conservatives have now raised the alarm over Ms Dorries’ diagnosis, clawing she is a regular visitor to the tea room in the House of Commons.

One worried MP told The Daily Telegraph: “She loves the tea room, so she will have seen loads of people.”

Ms Dorries used a WhatsApp group of ministers to send a message to her colleagues on Wednesday morning.

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She wrote: “Hard to remember every single person I was in contact with last week.

“If you sat next to me in the tea room or library etc please let me know.”

There had been fears Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab may have contracted coronavirus after he was spotted coughing and wi[ping his nose on the front bench during the Budget speech delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday.

The MP for Esher and Walton insisted to The Daily Telegraph he was “at the tail end of a cold”, and said: “I’ve already been checked for coronavirus and is was negative.”

But pictures and videos of his apparent ill-health began trading immediately on social media, with thousands of people raising concerns for the health of the former Brexit Secretary and fearing he may be spreading his illness.

LBC presenter Shelagh Fogarty wrote on Twitter: “Can someone please get Dominic Raab a large hanky to cough in?

“He is barely covering his mouth and coughing consistently on the front bench.”

But despite the recent coronavirus scares, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted there are currently no plans to shut down Parliament.

Parliament will continue to seek advice from Professor Whitty over his to proceed if the coronavirus situation escalates.

But despite the coronavirus scares, Cabinet ministers feel Parliament should remain open.

One minister said: “There’s a feeling at all levels that Parliament needs to remain operational.”

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