Queen Elizabeth resumes duties nine days after positive Covid test

Palace says she is feeling well enough to resume virtual engagements

Queen Elizabeth II is returning to work after a Covid-19 scare, Buckingham Palace has said, ending more than a week of heightened concern about the health of Britain's longest-reigning monarch after it was announced she had tested positive for coronavirus.

The palace said the monarch was feeling well enough to resume virtual engagements and other duties, including audiences with representatives from other countries.

Elizabeth (95), first tested positive for coronavirus on February 20th, with the palace describing her symptoms as mild. It was unclear where or from whom the queen had contracted the infection, but several others in her residence at Windsor Castle, west of London, also tested positive, suggesting an outbreak there.

The queen had also recently met her eldest son, Prince Charles, who was later reported to be isolating after becoming reinfected with the virus.

In the days after she first tested positive, the queen cancelled some virtual engagements at least twice after showing mild symptoms but continued with “light duties”, the palace said.

Restrictions lifted

She received a first coronavirus vaccination in January 2021, but the palace has not confirmed whether she received subsequent doses.

Prince Charles has said he is fully vaccinated and also received a booster.

Still, news that a potentially deadly virus had infected the queen, who recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of her reign, prompted worries about her wellbeing. She had spent much of the pandemic in quarantine at Windsor Castle with her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April aged 99.

Her positive test for the virus came as prime minister Boris Johnson lifted England's Covid restrictions last week, including the rule that those who received a positive test must isolate for five days. Covid passports for entry to some indoor venues will eventually be phased out in April, when the government will also stop providing free testing for the public.

On Monday, Britain reported a daily average of 33,161 new cases in the past week, according to official figures. Cases have decreased 52 per cent from the average two weeks ago, and deaths in that time have decreased 40 per cent.

– This article first appeared in The New York Times