Boris Johnson is self-isolating for seven days having tested positive for coronavirus.
The prime minister, 55, tweeted a video message confirming he has COVID-19, writing: “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
“I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also caught the virus and is self-isolating at home.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson was tested on the advice of his chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty on Thursday afternoon, having been experiencing “mild symptoms” earlier the same day.
The test was carried out in Number 10 by NHS staff and the positive result was confirmed at around midnight, they added.
“He is continuing to lead the government’s response to coronavirus,” a spokesperson confirmed.
Number 10 also said meals will be left outside Mr Johnson’s door while he self-isolates.
And they added because the building is considered a workplace, staff do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms – such as a new persistent cough or raised temperature.
Mr Johnson, whose partner Carrie Symonds is pregnant, was last seen outside Number 10 on Thursday night, joining Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a nationwide applause for NHS workers as they battle the pandemic.
A Treasury source said Mr Sunak is not self-isolating because he doesn’t have any symptoms, but other people in the prime minister’s office are.
Mr Johnson also appeared at PMQs as normal on Wednesday, sitting in a gap between his Home Secretary Priti Patel and Chief Whip Mark Spencer.
And all of this week he has been chairing the daily “war cabinet” on Britain’s COVID-19 emergency response, involving some face-to-face meetings with those at the heart of managing the health, economic and communication response to the crisis.
But Mr Johnson has appeared over videolink for two important calls – with cabinet ministers and other leaders of the G20 countries.
He also did not travel to Buckingham Palace for his weekly private meeting with the Queen on Wednesday – instead calling her on the phone. The pair last met on 11 March.
Mr Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings was seen running out of Downing Street after the news broke.
Mr Hancock confirmed in a video message on Twitter on Friday he had COVID-19 after showing “very mild” symptoms and is now self-isolating while working from home.
It is “vital we follow the advice to protect our NHS and save lives”, he warned.
Back on 3 March, the prime minister revealed in a news conference he shook hands with COVID-19 patients.
“I was at a hospital the other night where there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know,” he said.
Sam Coates, Sky News’ deputy political editor, said: “This is an enormous challenge for the centre of government today.
“There will be a lot of concern that a large number of people in No 10 might have been exposed and might not have to be tested.”
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said a few days ago that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would stand in if he becomes incapacitated.
But they confirmed on Friday Mr Raab is not taking over any functions from the prime minister yet.
Jeremy Corbyn wished Mr Johnson a “speedy recovery”, tweeting: “I hope his family are safe and healthy.
“Coronavirus can and does affect anyone. Everyone be safe. Our own health depends on everybody else.”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, also wished Mr Johnson well and tweeted: “My thoughts are with him and, indeed, with all families in the UK and across Europe and the world that are affected by coronavirus. I am convinced Europe can overcome these difficulties together.”
Fears grew about how far COVID-19 spread at the heart of government after health minister Nadine Dorries tested positive for the virus earlier in March.
She has since recovered and was clapped by MPs when she returned to the Commons on Wednesday to hear the health secretary make a statement.