Coronavirus: York MP self-isolating after contact with infected minister

Rachael Maskell. Photograph: Screengrab
11 Mar 2020 @ 8.43 am
| News

York Central MP Rachael Maskell is self-isolating after meeting with a minister who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Last Thursday, the MP met with health minister Nadine Dorries to discuss mental health services in York.

After hearing that the minister had tested positive for coronavirus, Ms Maskell phoned NHS 111.

She was advised to self-isolate for 14 days and will therefore not be holding meetings in her constituency over this period.

She is completely well and is showing no symptoms, but will follow the advice in case there is a risk.

Following public health advice

Nadine Dorries. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The MP said she wants to be fully transparent with her constituents and will be working from home and available for meetings on the phone.

She said:

  • It is essential that we all follow the public health advice provided, even if we are feeling well.

    We must do all we can to contain and delay the onset of coronavirus.

    The public health advice to everyone is to wash your hands, catch your coughs and sneezes and then bin it, and to minimalise contact, including touching your face.

    If everyone follows this hygiene and isolation advice then we may be able to delay the spread of the virus.

She said if anyone shows symptoms, they should follow the Public Health England advice and ring NHS 111.

The MP’s assistants – which include leader of the Labour group on City of York Council Danny Myers – are still at work and haven’t been told to self-isolate. 

Parliament changes needed

Ms Maskell said today: “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.”

With no plans to suspend Parliament, Ms Maskell said procedures may need to change to make allowances for MPs keeping away from the Palace of Westminster, such as through the increased use of proxy voting.

Pointing to the increased use of technology elsewhere, she said “lots of businesses work virtually”.

“These matters need to be discussed,” she added.