The foreign secretary began a two-week period of self-isolation on Thursday after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus, as concerns grew over the rapid spread of the virus throughout the UK and abroad.
A spokesperson for Dominic Raab confirmed he had taken “immediate steps to self-isolate” and would be working from home during the two-week period.
The official said: “The foreign secretary was today informed that an individual with whom he has been in recent close contact with has tested positive for coronavirus.
“In line with government regulations and NHS track and trace rules, the foreign secretary has taken immediate steps to self-isolate for the required period. He will continue to work remotely during this time.”
The news comes at a particularly fraught diplomatic period for the UK, with the US presidential result due to be announced, a decision that will greatly affect UK-US relations for the next four years.
When asked to comment on the ongoing presidential vote on Wednesday, Mr Raab avoided making any criticism of Donald Trump’s claims of fraud over the count but said he had “full faith” in the system of checks and balances within US institutions.
Earlier on Thursday, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced that travellers arriving from Germany and Sweden would have to self-isolate for 14 days from 4am on Saturday November 7.
Mr Shapps said travel corridors remained a vital part of the government’s coronavirus response and all travellers arriving from the two countries should complete a passenger locator form on arrival.
He also reiterated the new travel guidelines for residents within England, adding: “In line with the new Covid-19 guidance, travel outside of home, with the exception of a limited number of reasons including work or education, is not permitted during lockdown.”
The UK introduced a quarantine system in June, with popular tourist destinations such as Italy, Spain and Jamaica initially exempt from the quarantine list.
However, with much of Europe now experiencing a second wave of infections and reintroducing restrictive measures, in recent months, the UK government has gradually taken off numerous countries from the exempt list.
Cyprus and Lithuania were removed from the list earlier this month.
Guidance from the Department for Transport said Germany and Sweden have been taken off the list of UK travel corridors after the Joint Biosecurity Centre assessed both countries as posing a heightened infection risk.
“The government’s travel corridor policy remains a critical part of the government’s Covid-19 response as it mitigates the risk of importing infections from abroad; this has not changed following the introduction of new restrictions in England,” it said.