Gillian Keegan: why did health minister continue meeting after positive Covid test? Twitter apology explained

Gillian Keegan received confirmation of a positive Covid result during a meeting with a group of bereaved fathers

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A health minister has apologised for continuing with an in-person meeting despite being told she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Gillian Keegan, the Conservative MP for Chichester, received the result of a lateral flow test during a visit on Tuesday (8 February), after taking a precautionary test beforehand.

Gillian Keegan has apologised for an ‘error in judgement’ (Photo: UK Parliament)Gillian Keegan has apologised for an ‘error in judgement’ (Photo: UK Parliament)
Gillian Keegan has apologised for an ‘error in judgement’ (Photo: UK Parliament)

Ms Keegan was informed that she had recorded a positive result during a meeting with a group of bereaved fathers and admitted an “error of judgement” for carrying on.

She explained that she continued with the consent of the group she was speaking to and “took further precautions”, but admitted she should have ended the meeting immediately.

The MP added that she is now self-isolating at home and fortunately feels “fine”.

Posting a thread on Twitter, Ms Keegan said: “Earlier today, ahead of a planned visit I took a precautionary LFD test which gave a positive result. I am now isolating at home and fortunately feel fine.

“When I was told my test was positive I was listening to three fathers who had tragically lost their daughters to suicide.

“I told them the result and took further precautions but with their consent, I stayed for a short period to hear their stories.

“I should have immediately ended the meeting and on reflection this was an error of judgement on my part.

“I fully recognise the importance of following the letter and spirit of the policies, so want to be upfront about what happened and to apologise for the mistake I made.”

Asked about the situation on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Health minister Ed Argar said Ms Keegan "made an error of judgement" but had "issued a fulsome apology".

He said: “She has clearly issued a fulsome apology there, that she did make an error of judgement. She was open about that and she accepted she made an error of judgement.

"What I would say about Gillian here is that was something she instantly realised - she’d made an error of judgement, she has put that message out, she has apologised, she has acknowledged it.

"She moved very swiftly to apologise."

Mr Argar stressed that people should continue to self-isolate immediately if they test positive for Covid-19.

What does government guidance say?

The government’s Covid-19 rules state that any individual who receives a positive Covid-19 test result must start self-isolating “straight away”.

The quarantine period starts immediately from when symptoms first started, or from when a positive PCR or lateral flow test result is received for those who do not have any symptoms - whichever was taken first.

New rules mean that anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland can now leave self-isolation after five full days.

However, this is on the condition that you produce two consecutive negative lateral flow tests, taken on days five and six. The first test must be taken no earlier than day five, with the second to be taken the following day.

If a test comes back positive on day five, then a negative test is required on day six and day seven to release from isolation. If you still test positive on day six, then a negative test is required on days seven and eight, and so on until the end of day 10.

It is essential that two negative rapid lateral flow tests are taken on consecutive days and reported if leaving quarantine earlier than the full 10 day period.

In Scotland, the mandatory isolation period for people who test positive for Covid-19 is currently seven days, subject to two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven.

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