Boris Johnson was forced into self-isolation on Sunday night just as he embarked on a crucial week designed to restore calm and project an air of competence after a vicious No 10 turf war.
There were concerns that Covid-19 had returned to Downing Street as the result of a 35-minute meeting between the prime minister and a group of Tory MPs at No 10, one of whom subsequently tested positive for the virus.
Johnson was pictured standing next to Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, inside Downing Street on Thursday. The men appear to be less than 2 metres apart and neither is wearing a mask.
Officials insisted Downing Street was a Covid-secure workplace but said NHS Test and Trace had said factors including the length of the meeting meant Johnson should self-isolate as a precaution.
The PM will have held meetings with several other figures since Thursday, including his aides Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain, who resigned this week before being ordered by Johnson to leave on Friday following a 45-minute meeting at No 10.
The advice for Johnson to now self-isolate for 10 days comes at a difficult moment for the government. He is expected to continue to make public statements from inside No 10, including on the government’s green plans. This is also a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations with the EU reach their final phase.