Words: Tim Heap
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has tested positive for coronavirus.
Russell-Moyle, who is gay and and living with HIV, shared news of the diagnosis on his social media channels on Wedneday (18 March).
The Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown, who was first elected in 2017, said what that he first noticed symptoms last Wednesday (11 March) and began to self-isolate, as well as calling NHS 111.
“I had a home visit and was tested on Thursday,” he wrote. “This was the last day of community testing.”
While Russell-Moyle doesn’t go further into detail of how he is coping with COVID-19, which has now claimed the lives of 104 people in the UK, he did call for the UK to follow the advice of the World Health Organisation and offering more coronavirus testing to those with symptoms.
“My understanding is that a manufacturing plant in Northern Ireland is exporting 15-minute COVID tests around the world because our NHS is not ordering them,” he said. “We have university labs who are willing to assist with testing but aren’t yet.
“Our priority must be testing our healthcare workers, who are currently needing to self-isolate for 14 days when someone in their house shows a symptom, taking them away from their life-saving work.
“This is the greatest test our NHS has ever faced, an NHS that was already under strain. I have every confidence that we have the skills and resources to beat this virus, but only if we take radical steps to reorganise and reprioritise our system.”
Russell-Moyle concluded the statement by encouraging the public to take social distancing seriously to reduce the spread of coronavirus, of which there are 2,626 confimed cases in the UK.
According to HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, people living with HIV are at no greater risk from coronavirus if they are on treatment, have an undetectable viral load and a good CD4 count.
However, those without an undetectable viral load or with a low CD4 may fall into the 'vulnerable' category and are therefore advised to take greater steps to avoid all unnecessary social contact.
Russell-Moyle, who opened up about his HIV status publicly on World AIDS Day in 2018, said at the time he had an an undetectable viral load, dding: “I have not only survived, I've prospered, and any partner I have is safe and protected.”
For the latest advice about COVID19, visit the World Health Organisation.