LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday and is experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, Buckingham Palace said, adding that she still plans to carry on working. The diagnosis prompted concern and get-well wishes from across Britain’s political spectrum for the famously stoic 95-year-old.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a fixture in the life of the nation, the queen reached the milestone of 70 years on the throne on Feb. 6, the anniversary of the 1952 death of her father, King George VI. She will turn 96 on April 21.
The palace said the queen, who has been fully vaccinated and had a booster shot, would continue with “light” duties at Windsor Castle over the coming week.
“She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines,” the palace said in a statement.
People in the U.K. who test positive for COVID-19 are now required to self-isolate for at least five days, although the British government says it plans to lift that requirement for England this week.
Both the queen’s eldest son Prince Charles, 73, and her 74-year-old daughter-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall contracted COVID-19 earlier this month. Charles has since returned to work. There are also thought to be several recent virus cases among staff at Windsor Castle, where the queen is staying.
Paul Hunter, an infectious diseases expert at the University of East Anglia, said the queen would likely be given one of several antiviral drugs that have been approved in the U.K. to treat COVID-19.
“If you do get them early enough, it does reduce the risk of severe disease developing, so I would imagine any doctor for a patient in their 90s would be considering giving these antivirals,” he said.
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