The prime minister’s pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds, has revealed that she is in recovery after suffering coronavirus symptoms.
The 32-year-old former government adviser, who is expecting the couple’s baby in early summer, falls into the group of vulnerable people urged to avoid contact with those who have symptoms of Covid-19.
Posting on Twitter on Saturday afternoon, Symonds, who has been in self-isolation since Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus, says she has been suffering with Covid-19 for the past week, despite not being officially diagnosed with the disease.
Johnson said last week that he had tested positive for coronavirus and would self-isolate in Downing Street for seven says. On Friday he said he would spend more time in isolation as he still had a temperature.
Shortly after his announcement, Symonds – who usually lives with the PM in the No 11 flat – shared a photograph of herself self-isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple’s dog Dilyn.
In the Twitter post, she wrote: “I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.”
I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.
— Carrie Symonds (@carriesymonds) April 4, 2020
In a second post, with a link directing users to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advice page for pregnant women and their families, she added: “Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying. To other pregnant women, please do read and follow the most up to date guidance which I found to be v reassuring.”
While pregnant women do not appear more likely to contract coronavirus than the general population, pregnancy itself alters the body’s immune system and response to viral infections in general.
Guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) says viral infections can “occasionally be related to more severe symptoms and this will be the same for Covid-19”.
It says that while the risks are small overall, health professionals should look out for more severe symptoms of Covid-19 in pregnant women who test positive, such as pneumonia and a lack of oxygen.
But the RCOG said the current expert opinion is that unborn babies are unlikely to be exposed to Covid-19 during pregnancy.
There is also no data at the moment suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage for pregnant women.
The RCOG reiterates government advice that pregnant women “should pay particular attention to avoiding contact with people who are known to have Covid-19 or those who exhibit possible symptoms”.
It adds: “Women above 28 weeks’ gestation should be particularly attentive to social distancing and minimising contact with others.”
Johnson and Symonds, a former director of communications for the Conservative party, announced in February that they were engaged to be married and were expecting a baby.