UK health minister apologises for continuing meeting after positive Covid test

Gillian Keegan described not ending meeting after being informed of result a ‘mistake’

File photograph of lateral flow test. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

A minister in the UK health department has apologised for continuing with a face-to-face meeting despite being told she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Gillian Keegan said she was told her test was positive while meeting three men who had lost their daughters to suicide.

She said she should have “immediately” ended the meeting, and described not doing so as a “mistake” and “an error of judgment”.

The Chichester MP said she had told the men the result of the test but stayed on to hear their stories while taking “further precautions”.


Posting on Twitter on Tuesday night, Ms Keegan said: “Earlier today, ahead of a planned visit I took a precutionary (sic) 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 judgment 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.”

Health minister Ed Argar said he understands the health secretary has accepted an apology from fellow minister Gillian Keegan .

Asked what he would say to Ms Keegan, Mr Argar told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “I saw that Twitter thread, I think, late last night, I think it was. She’s clearly issued a fulsome apology there, that she did make an error of judgment, she was open about that and she accepted she made an error of judgment.”

He added: “I understand — I haven’t spoken to or seen Gillian yesterday or today, so I don’t know first hand — but I understand from her Twitter thread that she set out the circumstances and apologised, and I understand that she has also spoken to and apologised to the secretary of state, who has accepted that apology.”–PA