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How the Duchess of Cornwall has managed to avoid coronavirus after Prince Charles tested positive

Dr Dawn Harper answers HELLO!'s health questions

Danielle Stacey

Clarence House confirmed that the Prince of Wales, 71, tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement on Wednesday, but added that his wife Camilla has not contracted the virus. The statement read: "The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus." It went on to say: "In accordance with Government and medical advice, the Prince and the Duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland. The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing. It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks."

READ: Inside Prince Charles and Camilla's Scottish home where they are self-isolating due to coronavirus

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WATCH: Prince Charles tests positive for coronavirus

HELLO! has put some questions to Dr Dawn Harper to ask how one person in a household can have the virus and not the other and whether you need to inform everyone who you have come into contact with that you are positive.  

How can a husband have the virus and a wife not?

Dr Dawn says: "We are still learning about this virus, but the main reason we ask household contacts of symptomatic patients to self-isolate for 14 days is to make sure they are not in contact with other people whilst they could potentially be incubating the disease.

"Just like the common cold, however, there is no guarantee that if one member of a household contracts the disease that all the others will and there are lots of reasons for that, not least the baseline health of each individual and the robustness of their immune system.

"Let's hope the Duchess remains asymptomatic but she will need to take precautions to increase her chances of remaining symptom free. There is also some evidence that some people can contract the virus without developing symptoms."

MORE: How Prince Harry and Prince William found out Prince Charles had coronavirus

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Charles and Camilla at a Commonwealth Day reception on 9 March

Will Charles need to inform everybody he met at his engagements?

Dr Dawn says: "Given recent guidelines, one would hope that, despite attending engagements, that Prince Charles has been practising social distancing and certainly any images that I have seen of him recently confirm that to be the case, but if he has had any closer contacts, they should be informed. Prince Charles will need to self-isolate for seven days and the Duchess of Cornwall for 14." 

Charles is suffering mild symptoms, yet he's over 70 - is this good news for older people?

Dr Dawn says: "Being over 70, does put Charles in an at risk group but that doesn’t automatically mean he will get severe symptoms. The more risk factors you have, the greater the risk, but there is also some evidence that the amount of exposure to the virus is also a factor. This may explain why some, previously well healthcare professionals and some household contacts of symptomatic patients have had more severe symptoms. To that end, the Duchess should be sleeping in a separate room, using a separate bathroom and maintaining social distancing within the house." 

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