A royal footman who has been in regular contact with Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive for coronavirus, a new report claims.
The U.K.’s Sun reported that the palace employee had a number of duties that included being in close proximity to the 93-year-old British royal.
“The servant, whose duties included walking the monarch’s dogs, has been sent home and is self-isolating in the hope of fighting off the virus,” the report noted.
The report noted that dozens of other members of the royal household staff have been tested for the virus, with all coming back negative. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have reportedly moved to Windsor Castle, which is believed to be more secure, but the report noted that anxieties are still high given that the couple is in the highest-risk category for the virus.
“Everyone is terrified, not just for themselves but also for the Queen and the Duke,” a source told the Sun.
“If everyone around them hasn’t been tested yet they should be and I’m sure they will be. There is a palpable sense of fear in the air at the moment.”
The coronavirus has been the most deadly for patients over the age of 60 and those with compromised immune systems. Prince Philip has endured a number of health ails in recent years, spending four days in the hospital just before Christmas last year.
Fears have been high in the U.K. since Prince Charles tested positive for COVID-19 last week, followed by a positive test for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The British government has undertaken strict measures to prevent the spread of the virus, which could be in place for quite some time. As a separate report from the Sun noted, experts have predicted that it could take several months of social distancing efforts in order to properly quell the spread of the virus.
Dr. Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for the British government, said that the lockdown measures in place across Britain could be extended indefinitely and restrictions could only be lifted after the peak of the spread has been passed — but only eased out. Harries suggested that an abrupt return to a normal way of living could re-spark the spread of the virus, even if the initial efforts successfully flattened the curve of infections and allowed hospital systems to keep pace with the number of patients in need of care.