KEY POINTS

  • Johnson spent time with an MP who later tested positive for COVID-19
  • The prime minister was hospitalized in April after contracting the virus
  • The United Kingdom reported nearly 25,000 new cases nationwide as of Sunday

While the duration of immunity is unclear, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson went into self-isolation on Sunday after being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

This move comes after Johnson, 56, was hospitalized in April after contracting the coronavirus.

Johnson spent about a half-hour with Lee Anderson, a member of parliament, on Nov. 12. Anderson has since tested positive for COVID-19, BBC reported.

Speaking to his current condition, Johnson said his body was “bursting with antibodies” from his previous infection, but added, “The rules are the rules and they are there to stop the spread of the disease."

As for Anderson, both he and his wife tested positive, but apart from losing his sense of taste, felt otherwise fine.

Numerous reports of people contracting COVID-19 twice have circulated since the pandemic began. In July, ABC News reported that a Chinese study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine found antibodies for the novel coronavirus faded after about two months. A study from King’s College in London, which was not peer-reviewed, found immunity faded much quicker, but not as fast in patients who had experienced strong COVID-19 symptoms. 

Speaking to ABC News, Todd Ellerin, the director of infectious diseases at South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts, said reinfection is certainly plausible.

“The duration of immunity is unclear, but it does make sense that we may start seeing cases of re-infection with the novel coronavirus, as with other common coronavirus infections," he said.

Health officials advise people to practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently, and wear a face mask even if they’ve recovered from COVID-19.

The United Kingdom has reported 1.3 million positive cases of COVID-19 to date, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Apart from dealing with the pandemic response, Johnson must work from self-isolation on a government reset after two of his top aides left the government amid internal power struggles. Outlining new restrictions meant to limit the spread, Johnson told the House of Commons last week there was “no alternative” but to lock down the country for several weeks.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson video UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirms in a Twitter video that he has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days by the UK's test and trace system after coming into contact with someone who had COVID-19. Photo: AFPTV / William EDWARDS