Queen Elizabeth Tests Positive for Coronavirus, as England Is Poised to Relax Rules

Queen Elizabeth Assessments Optimistic for Coronavirus, as England Is Poised to Calm down Guidelines

Queen Elizabeth II has been contaminated with the coronavirus, Buckingham Palace stated on Sunday, turning into one of many world’s most distinguished figures to battle the virus and deeply rattling the nation she has led for seven a long time.

The palace issued few particulars in regards to the situation of the queen, who turns 96 in April. She is certainly one of a number of folks at Windsor Fort who’re contaminated, a palace official stated, suggesting an outbreak on the royal residence, west of London, the place the queen has spent most of her time because the pandemic engulfed Britain in March 2020.

“Buckingham Palace verify that the queen has right this moment examined constructive for Covid,” the palace stated in a press release. “Her Majesty is experiencing delicate coldlike signs however expects to proceed gentle duties at Windsor over the approaching week. She’s going to proceed to obtain medical consideration and can comply with all the suitable pointers.”

Elizabeth met earlier this month along with her eldest son and inheritor, Prince Charles, who was later reported to be reinfected with the coronavirus and went into isolation. He final contracted a light case of the virus in March 2020. The palace on Sunday didn’t tackle whether or not Charles was the supply, however officers pointed to the variety of instances at Windsor Fort, suggesting she may have been contaminated by others within the royal family.

The information of the queen’s sickness got here as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was poised to loosen up the rest of coronavirus restrictions in England, together with a requirement to isolate for 5 days after receiving a constructive check. Mr. Johnson will introduce plans on Monday to elevate the rules by the tip of February, prompting some members of the opposition Labour Social gathering to warn that he was appearing rashly.

Britain reported 25,696 new cases on Sunday, accelerating a decline because the newest wave of the virus peaked in early January with greater than 200,000 instances a day. Almost 1,300 folks have been admitted to hospitals and 74 folks died — statistics which can be additionally on the decline, however at a extra average tempo than instances.

“Now could be the second for everyone to get their confidence again,” Mr. Johnson advised the BBC’s “Sunday Morning” present, earlier than the queen’s situation was made public. Hours later, on Twitter, the prime minister said he wished “Her Majesty The Queen a swift restoration from Covid and a fast return to vibrant good well being” — certainly one of a flood of properly needs from throughout Britain and world wide.

Britons don’t have any scarcity of expertise with distinguished public figures contracting Covid. Along with Charles, 73, his spouse, Camilla, tested positive four days after he did. His elder son, Prince William, had the virus in early 2020, disclosing it solely months later. Mr. Johnson suffered a extreme bout of Covid across the identical time and ended up in an intensive care unit.

Nonetheless, even that alarming episode paled subsequent to information that the queen, who recently marked her 70th anniversary on the throne and has reigned for longer than most Britons have been alive, had contracted a probably lethal illness.

It comes on prime of different well being considerations about Elizabeth. In October, she canceled a number of public appearances, including a solemn anniversary to honor Britain’s wartime useless. She additionally has stiffness in her legs and has begun utilizing a strolling stick.

Final Wednesday, she appeared fragile at an viewers with two senior army officers at Windsor Fort. Once they requested how she was, the queen, smiling and clutching the stick, gestured to her legs, and stated, “Effectively, as you see, I can’t transfer.” Neither the queen nor her friends have been sporting face masks.

Till not too long ago, Buckingham Palace had gone to extraordinary lengths to guard the queen from publicity to the virus. She retreated to Windsor in early 2020 along with her husband, Prince Philip, and lived in digital quarantine for greater than a 12 months. When she addressed the nation throughout a very darkish interval, in April 2020, she recorded the speech with solely a single digicam operator within the room.

Elizabeth acquired a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in January 2021 at Windsor Fort, together with Philip. The palace has not confirmed any subsequent vaccine doses, however she is broadly believed to have acquired two, in addition to a booster. Charles and Camilla have confirmed they’re absolutely vaccinated and boosted.

Buckingham Palace has been extraordinarily circumspect with particulars in regards to the queen’s well being. In October, the palace confirmed that she had been admitted to a hospital for tests solely after a London tabloid reported it. It didn’t say whether or not she had been examined for the virus after Charles was reinfected this month.

Philip died last April at age 99, and the queen was pressured to isolate herself throughout his funeral service. A photographer captured a poignant picture of her, grieving alone and sporting a masks, in a choir stall at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor.

That picture has taken on political resonance in latest weeks, as Mr. Johnson has battled a scandal over events held in Downing Road that violated lockdown restrictions. Two of the gatherings have been on the night earlier than Philip’s funeral, prompting Mr. Johnson to apologize to the queen.

The circumstances of the queen’s an infection remained wreathed in questions. Charles was at Windsor Fort on Feb. 8 for an investiture ceremony. He bought the information that he had examined constructive on Feb. 10 and postponed a visit to Winchester, England, on the final minute.

There have been comparable considerations in regards to the potential publicity of the queen the primary time Charles was contaminated. The prince’s royal family confirmed his constructive check on March 25, 2020. He had met his mom on March 12, solely a day earlier than his medical doctors assessed he may have been infectious. A spokesman for the prince stated on Sunday that he didn’t plan to challenge a press release on the queen’s situation.

Given the transmissibility of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which is the dominant variant in Britain, public well being specialists stated the queen may have picked it up from anybody. Along with the army officers, she performed host to different guests, together with a gaggle on Feb. 5 that helped mark the seventieth anniversary of her accession to the throne.

“Omicron is extremely infectious — probably essentially the most infectious illness in latest human historical past — and it’s subsequently unsurprising the queen has additionally examined constructive,” stated Devi Sridhar, the pinnacle of the worldwide public well being program on the College of Edinburgh. The queen’s superior age, she stated, was an added problem.

Buckingham Palace tried to ease considerations about Elizabeth by issuing a congratulatory message from her to Britain’s girls’s curling workforce, which received a gold medal on the Winter Olympic Video games in Beijing.

“I do know that your native communities and folks all through the UK will be a part of me in sending our good needs to you, your coaches, and the family and friends who’ve supported you in your nice success,” she stated.

A palace official stated she had signed off on the assertion on Sunday morning, earlier than her situation was made public.

In latest weeks, Elizabeth appeared to be shifting on a number of fronts to settle the royal household’s enterprise. Final week, her second son, Prince Andrew, reached an out-of-court settlement of a sexual assault case filed in opposition to him by Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of raping her when she was a teen.

The settlement spares the royal household the prospect of Andrew having to testify below oath about his contacts with Ms. Giuffre, which might have solid a protracted shadow over the queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

On the weekend she marked her accession, the queen stated in a press release that she hoped that when Charles succeeded her, Camilla can be generally known as queen consort — an endorsement that the couple had lengthy sought.

“We’re deeply aware of the distinction represented by my mom’s want,” Charles stated in a press release. “As we’ve got sought collectively to serve and assist Her Majesty and the folks of our communities, my darling spouse has been my very own steadfast assist all through.”

On a blustery, wet day in London on Sunday, folks expressed nervousness in regards to the queen, combined with hope that she would get first-rate medical care. Above all, it appeared to drive house the truth that the coronavirus spares no one.

“It doesn’t have boundaries,” stated Hussein Ahmed, 34, who was ready for a bus in North London. “It doesn’t give a rattling about whether or not you’re the queen or a king or a traditional civilian, an individual in excessive energy — you’re getting it.”

Stephen Fort and Megan Specia contributed reporting.

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