News Politics Australian Politics British MPs in isolation after contact with COVID-positive Joyce
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British MPs in isolation after contact with COVID-positive Joyce

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Michael Gove is one of three British cabinet ministers in isolation after meetings with Barnaby Joyce, who has COVID. Photo: Getty
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Three British cabinet ministers, including PM Boris Johnson’s second in command Dominic Raab, have entered self-isolation after contact with Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who has COVID.

Michael Gove was the third minister to be revealed to have taken the measure, having met Mr Joyce in London on Monday, a spokesman for the communities secretary said.

Mr Raab, who is Britain’s justice secretary as well as being deputy prime minister, and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also entered isolation having met Mr Joyce earlier this week.

Mr Joyce subsequently tested positive to the coronavirus in the US, after travelling to Washington DC. He is self-isolating for 10 days.

Mr Shapps was forced to pull out of a high-speed rail-related visit to Newton Aycliffe as he was due to mark a major contract signing with Hitachi to manufacture rolling stock.

“Sorry not to be travelling to @HitachiRailENG in County Durham today to welcome huge new @HS2ltd rolling stock contract,” he tweeted.

“Have taken precaution of cancelling visit & have taken PCR test after being in contact with Australian Deputy PM this week – who’s tested positive for Covid.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Raab said: “He is getting tested and he is self-isolating while we wait to hear whether the Australian deputy prime minister has Omicron or not.”

Mr Joyce, who is fully vaccinated, said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been experiencing mild symptoms and decided to get tested.

He has cancelled all meetings, and will remain in isolation for at least 10 days. Also on Thursday, he told the ABC that he “probably won’t be home for Christmas” – and the rest of the delegation might leave the US without him.

“I’m really happy all my staff are negative, so they can do what they like. If they wish to go home then they are most welcome to,” he said.

“‘There is no compulsion at all for anybody to stay.”

-with AAP