Britain's junior health minister Nadine Dorries has become the first MP to be diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

The under-secretary of State for Health and Social Care said she has been self-isolating at home after testing positive and her parliamentary office has closed following advice from Public Health England.

In a statement last night, Ms Dorries said: "As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home.

"Public Health England (PHE) has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.

"I would like to thank PHE and the wonderful NHS staff who have provided me with advice and support."

The number of cases in the UK has risen to 382 and six people have died due to coronavirus.

The UK's Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said Ms Dorries first exhibited symptoms at some time last Thursday.

That was the same day she attended a Downing Street event hosted by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to mark International Women's Day.


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Downing Street did not comment on whether Mr Johnson had undergone testing for Covid-19 or whether he will now be tested.

A DHSC spokeswoman said Ms Dorries, the 62-year-old MP for Mid Bedfordshire who began her career as a nurse, has been self-isolating at home since Friday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "really sorry" to hear Ms Dorries had contracted the virus.

"She has done the right thing by self-isolating at home, and both NHS and PHE staff have been brilliant. We all wish her well as she recovers," he added.

On Monday, Mr Hancock he would "do all that I can" to keep parliament open during the coronavirus outbreak.

Labour MP Rachael Maskell has today called for parliament to update its procedures to cope with the arrival of coronavirus, after she was told to self-isolate.

Ms Maskell was advised to take the step by the NHS 111 service following a meeting with Ms Dorries.

The York Central MP said there should be "no exceptions" to following health advice but acknowledged it would be "frustrating" to be away from parliament.

She had a meeting with Ms Dorries on Thursday in the minister's office in parliament.

She was contacted NHS 111 and was advised to quarantine herself until 19 March.

She said: "I'm absolutely fine, obviously it's frustrating because there are things I want to get on with.

"I'm just planning on making more phone calls, more working online. I'm not going to be bored, put it that way."