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Trailblazing gay Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has tested positive for coronavirus

Josh Milton March 18, 2020
Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the first person publicly known to be living with HIV to win election to the UK Parliament.

Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the first person publicly known to be living with HIV to win election to the UK Parliament. (Pbulic domain/UK Parliament/Chris McAndrew)

British Labour lawmaker Lloyd Russell-Moyle – the first person publicly known to be living with HIV to be elected to parliament – has tested positive for coronavirus.

Since last week, Russell-Moyle explained in a winding Facebook post, the MP has felt ill and self-isolated, before receiving confirmation on March 18 he has COVID-19.

As exposure to the virus winnows through parliament, the house is grappling over questions to curtail its activities in the coming days in fears of becoming a petri-dish for the delicate but deadly coronavirus strain.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle: ‘Coronavirus is the greatest test our NHS has ever faced.’

“I felt symptoms last Wednesday,” the MP for Brighton and Kemptown said, “immediately self-isolated and called 111.

“I had a home visit and was tested on Thursday, this was the last day of community testing.

“I received the result this afternoon after 6 days of waiting.

“If we are serious about the [World Health Orgnisation] advice of ‘Test, Test, Test’, then we need to do better than this.”

The politician then lashed into primer minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic which has paralysed daily life for Britons and stampeded the Conservative Party’s flimsy attempts at curbing rates.

He echoed countless senior doctors and healthcare chiefs pleas for parliament to ramp up testing of potential coronavirus carriers.

Current policy sees only hospital patients tested, meaning figures may be far greater than what the government provides.

Labour Party lawmaker Lloyd Russell-Moyle won re-election to Parliament in 2019. (Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Labour Party lawmaker Lloyd Russell-Moyle won re-election to Parliament in 2019. (Andres Pantoja/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

While Britain is steadily stiffening its once relaxed approach to containing COVID-19, its testing policy, experts warn, must be strengthened.

“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,” Russell-Moyle said.

“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.”

Politicians and activist offer support to Labour MP following coronavirus test. 

Fellow opposition party politicians and high-profile queer figures rolled out their support for Russell-Moyle.

Dawn Butler, a fiery ally to the community and current contender for deputy leader of the Labour Party, lent her support.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott also consoled Russell-Moyle and then sent a sharply-toned upbraid of the Johnson administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Columnist and activist Owen Jones called the MP a “hero”.

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Dawn Butler, Diane Abbott, Labour, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Owen Jones

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