LONDON (AP) - Prince Charles has ended his period of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The prince’s Clarence House office says Charles is in good health after completing the seven-day quarantine recommended by U.K. health authorities for people with COVID-19 symptoms.
Royal officials said last week the 71-year-old heir to the British throne was showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and self-isolating at the royal family’s Balmoral estate in Scotland. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative but will be in self-isolation until the end of the week.
Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth II, 93, is at her Windsor Castle home west of London with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip.
The British government has advised people over age 70 to take social distancing measures especially seriously and warned they may need to stay home for 12 weeks.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can be more severe, causing pneumonia and sometimes death.
Charles is the latest high-profile figure to reveal a COVID-19 diagnosis. He joins a growing list of celebrities, athletes and other famous people who been tested for the novel coronavirus, even when they didn’t have a fever or other severe tell-tale symptoms.
That has fueled the perception that the wealthy and famous have been able to jump to the head of the line to get tested while others have been turned away or met with long delays.
Scientists, public health and frontline medical staff officials have urged Britain to ramp up the number of people being tested for the virus. Currently the vast majority of people with mild symptoms are not being tested.
A member of the Scottish Parliament, Joan McAlpine, expressed surprise that Charles was tested. McAlpine, a legislator with Scotland's governing Scottish National Party wished Charles a speedy recovery, but wondered aloud whether he had received special treatment.
“Given that his symptoms are said to be mild, like many I wonder how he was tested when many NHS and social care workers cannot get tested,’’ she said on Twitter. “My nephew, who has serious asthma and a chest infection was recently refused a test.’’
Charles and Camilla's tests were carried out by the National Health Service in Scotland. Its website says that in general people will be tested if they “have a serious illness that requires admission to hospital.’’
Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood defended the test.
"From the information I've been given it's clear he was tested for clinical reasons,’’ she said. “And I'm pleased also that he is well and as with many people who have had this virus he has had a mild illness."
Charles and other senior royals kept up a busy schedule of engagements until earlier this month, when they cut off public events as the coronavirus outbreak intensified.