back to article BT CEO tests positive for coronavirus, goes into self-isolation after meeting fellow bosses from Vodafone UK, Three, O2 plus govt officials

BT Group has confirmed its CEO has been diagnosed with COVID-19 just days after meeting fellow telco top brass at a gathering organised by the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). In a statement, Philip Jansen said: "Having felt slightly unwell I decided as a precaution to be tested. As soon …

  1. robidy Bronze badge
    Coat

    Given the number of people they talk to shall we just self isolate all staff at all telecoms and mobile companies now?

    Am assuming if TalkTalk self isolate it'll reduce the risk of data breaches.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      TalkTalk do not self-isolate. They isolate you off instead.

    2. TwistedPsycho

      When Virgin self-isolates it will be fine as the databases just get left open anyway

    3. steviebuk Silver badge

      No because they don't talk to the low down peasants don't you know.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Given the number of people they talk to shall we just self isolate all staff at all telecoms and mobile companies now?"

      From my experience of BT management any of the senior management could be carrying the Black Death without any impact on the rest of the staff. Let me correct that: without any adverse impact.

  2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    Don't worry about the pub, we'll hold the Bloody Mary for you

  3. Mark Stronge

    No mention of how he got it, was he in Italy?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Think what it means if he wasn't.... and now it's more than two weeks since Italy adopted containment measures...

    2. iron Silver badge

      He was at Westminster.

      COVID19 is running riot through the corridors of power atm.

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Joke

        "COVID19 is running riot through the corridors of power atm."

        Ahh, we can but live in continued hope, can we not?

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      COVID-19 has been in Europe (& the UK) since January at least: it's everywhere and containment is essentially no longer possible, but it does make it easier for headline writers!

    4. The Nazz Silver badge

      Re uptick in Italy cases.

      From this BBC "news" article : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51858987

      Notice how up until 15 February, thereabouts, the UK had 10 x the amount of cases that Italy had?

      Then a load of Brits buggered off abroad for half-term, skiing trips and other holidays?

  4. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    It's rather a poor show if even the bosses of telecoms companies can't just have a video call? You'd think they had the technology. Shall we start a gofundme for a webcam?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      How are they all supposed to sign the same bit of paper and get their photo-op, if they don't actually meet up?

      1. robidy Bronze badge

        Good point, they need a GIMP expert.

  5. VibhorTyagi

    It's getting the 1% as well

    To the reports that are saying that the most rich are far from being infected, saying that this coronavirus pandemic is a bio-weapon against the working people only, is disingenuous at best. I saw somebody managed to engineer AI tracking bots that are actively managing the count of people, based on official data administering. The thing is that covid-19 (novel coronavirus), has infected the poor and rich, both - the former are left to fend for themselves most of the time.

    ~Vibhor Tyagi (Techie at Engineer.AI)

    1. rmason

      Re: It's getting the 1% as well

      We are hearing of celebrity / sports people / politicians being infected because

      *THEY ARE ABLE TO GET TESTED*

      For you or I (UK based) we won't be tested until it gets bad enough to hospitalise us. People are waiting 7-9 days for a test.

      Our numbers will spike like Italy's did, as soon as we test more people. That's what happened there. Less that there was a huge spike in infections, more that there was a huge upturn in actually testing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's getting the 1% as well

        We are hearing of celebrity / sports people / politicians being infected because

        *THEY ARE ABLE TO GET TESTED*

        True, I'm not arguing with that.

        However, I'd like to expand on that statement....We are hearing so much about people being infected because the media are having an absolute feeding frenzy over it, instilling a sense of panic so bad that the only reason every single member of the population isn't $h1ting themselves is that there's no toilet paper left.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          because the media are having an absolute feeding frenzy over it, instilling a sense of panic so bad that the only reason every single member of the population isn't $h1ting themselves is that there's no toilet paper left.

          In the post-industrial, new-technology phase of the 20th and 21st centuries (in the now defunct 'nailing-someone-to-a-tree' timeline), the population of Earth were so pleased with themselves and their fancy global data distribution networks that they completely failed to realize that said networks had absolutely nothing to do with distributing useful, informative data, but were rather more to do with advertising all the useless tat that said population had decided, for some incomprehensible reason, that it really, really needed...

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: It's getting the 1% as well

            That sounds like the intro to an updated "War of the Worlds" - especially if you read it in a Richard Burton accent!

            *DER-DER-DER* de-de-de, de-de-de....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          This is why I switched to a boiled egg and toffee diet in the interim. There's no shortage of eggs and toffees and if you can't shit you don't need bog roll.

          1. Soruk

            Re: It's getting the 1% as well

            No eggs in my local Tesco this afternoon.

            1. katrinab Silver badge
              Flame

              Re: It's getting the 1% as well

              The only thing left in my local Tesco was Easter eggs.

        3. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          We are hearing of celebrity / sports people / politicians being infected because

          *THEY ARE ABLE TO GET TESTED*

          In the states, if you feel unwell, you are supposed to call(not come in) to your Doctor, who decides if they need to call the local health department (state or county) who then ask a bunch of questions, the gist of which you can get a number for a test ONLY if they determine that you were traveling, or in "close contact" with a traveler. So, no tests, basically. And half the US thinks this is a hoax, anyway.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's getting the 1% as well

        No. We hear about them because they announce it to all and sundry and the media repeat it. Your next-door neighbour isolates themselves and, by definition, you don't know about it.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: It's getting the 1% as well

        mason,

        There is no point testing people anymore. Except for clinical reasons.

        This is a global pandemic - which means that it's able to spread on every continent on the its own. I'm presuming the WHO don't count Antarctica - because the British Antarctic Survey have done a truly amazing job of self-isolating!

        The symptoms of this disease that most people will get will be very mild. And so there's no need to waste time on testing them. Seeing as the plan always assumed that trying to isolate people after they became symptomatic wouldn't work in the long term - it's no surprise that they targetted it.

        In this country (as of yesterday) we'd done 28,000 odd tests and found 4,000 odd cases. And we've had 6 deaths. If there were loads more cases working away hidden, then we'd know because we'd have had more deaths.

        But now testing has moved to the clinical stage of making sure people in hospital get tested and get the right treatment and also don't infect the people who don't have it.

        1. robidy Bronze badge

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          There is an odd reason for large scale testing.

          Mortality rates by the fake news pushers will be cited as a percentage of confirmed cases.  Fewer tested and confirmed = a higher mortality rate.

          That said, it's a waste of money given we don't test for normal flu on any scale.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          "I'm presuming the WHO don't count Antarctica - because the British Antarctic Survey have done a truly amazing job of self-isolating!"

          The US presence is far more significant and there are more or less daily flights in and out during the summer months, which it is there right now, so it's entirely possible it's there too.

          1. John Jennings

            Re: It's getting the 1% as well

            Orkney is about it atm. Even Shetland have some cases. Faroes are also free, I think. both places a bit difficult to get to, and not many Air BnB places for self isolation. better than most places for '29 days later' eposodes, though

        3. Tomato Krill

          Re: It's getting the 1% as well

          Not strictly true. If you are tested positive then once you are no longer infectious and have recovered, you can be a useful member of society and just possibly, a desperately needed carer (or even just helper) to somebody else.

          If not you will remain forced to stay ahead from people who actually need you

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's getting the 1% as well

      Virus does not care if you are rich or poor. Maybe this will be a wake up for how our society in general treats those at the bottom who can't afford to take time off but I doubt it.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: It's getting the 1% as well

      COVID-19 doesn't discriminate based on wealth, gender or race. If there is one discriminatory characteristic, it is age. Wealth is not a shield, living in a rich country far from the epicentre is not a shield, and older people have a disproportionately higher risk. It also has huge potential for economic disruption.

      Is it any surprise that the powers that be (mostly rich and mostly old) are taking it very seriously?

      1. Evil Scot

        Re: It's getting the 1% as well

        But it does discriminate on disability, guess the PTB don't care about them.

      2. John Jennings

        Re: It's getting the 1% as well

        Catching the he disease doesnt care about wealth.

        I imagine the chances of getting tested or a respirator might

  6. Maximum Delfango
    Facepalm

    Given the choice of using BT broadband for video conferencing and actually having to physically meet up with people, I guess there was only one choice that worked.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Brilliant -->

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why didn't he folow advice?

    In a statement, Philip Jansen said: "Having felt slightly unwell I decided as a precaution to be tested. As soon as the test results were known I isolated myself at home."

    I thought the advice was to self-isolate when you got the symptoms, even before taking the test, not wait however long it took to get test results whilst infecting as many other people as possible?

    Still, BT giving something away for free?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

      Because he was infectious before he developed symptons as is the case for most viral infections.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

        So he, and presumably you, are entitled to ignore advice because "you know better"?

        Plus if that's the case then he knew he should self isolate at the first indication, and indeed minimise contact with people before showing any symptoms, so I expect you'll do that do.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

          Viral infections and the most recent research suggests this is true for corvid-19 (first 5 days) are most infectious before symptons are displayed, this is why they spread so quickly.

          I get a flu jab every year and do try and avoid contact if I think I'm infectious. Without vaccination the seasonal flu would have a much higher mortality rate than corvid-19 but flu is boring so we don't see it on the news.

          1. Spanker

            Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

            He had Corvid-19? Stone the crows!

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Go

              Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

              Yes, I keep wishing it would get the catchy but extremely misleading "Crow Flu". It would at least give the good burghers a target for their anger!

    2. Annihilator Silver badge

      Re: Why didn't he folow advice?

      "I thought the advice was to self-isolate when you got the symptoms"

      As of Thursday that's the updated advice. Prior to that (when this guy felt unwell) it was only if you'd come into contact with a confirmed case. From what I can tell, he did more than government advice by virtue of being rich and getting access to a private test.

  8. Cuddles Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Sounds awkward

    "BT Group has confirmed its CEO has been diagnosed with COVID-19...

    BT revealed it is working closely with Public Health England to initiate a "full deep clean of relevant parts""

    Just how deep is this clean, and exactly which of his parts are the relevant ones?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds awkward

      It is obvious 'parts' imply servers and PC's - I had to read it a couple of times as I had misread it on the first scan to imply:

      BT revealed it is working closely with Public Health England to initiate a "full deep clean of relevant parts" of the group's PHE's HQ in central London....

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Another precaution

    I see from the Beeb that football in England has been suspended until April 3. I call that a good start.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Alister Silver badge

    Jansen added today: "Given my symptoms seem relatively mild, I will continue to lead BT but work with my team remotely over the coming week." He said will be "no disruption to business".

    He makes it sound like he'll take his share of first-line support, and do the odd remote-shell to a borked telecoms switch.

    Actually, if he was to disappear for a month without trace, I doubt anyone would be the wiser...

    1. OssianScotland Silver badge

      Business productivity would probably increase to a noticeable extent

      1. Col_Panek

        Productivity

        "no disruption to business".

        March Madness in USA cancelled.

        Useless onsite meetings and conferences cancelled.

        Worthless business trips cancelled.

        Working from home boosted.

        The list goes on...

    2. Benson's Cycle

      Being semi-serious, my one time boss said the higher you rise in the organisation, the longer it should be before your departure is noticed (if it's an organisation that really does something productive.)

      If a CEO's disappearance had noticeable effects on the running of the company in a short timeframe, it would imply that he (or she) was a micromanager. And if you are paying someone millions a year to micromanage, you're doing it wrong.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rather ironic.

    Us minions get to go to work as usual, trying to earn enough to live.

    Bosses hob-knob with each other and manage to infect themselves first (all that bonus money being spent on expensive holidays I guess).

    Ain't karma a bitch!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I didn't take much notice of the couple of transport police manning a stall/display at my local station this morning. Only later did I think how stupid their bosses must be to have them standing round answering passenger's questions, after all I'm being told not to attend unnecessary face-to-face meetings. They are surely going to get enough chances to infect/be infected while on patrol and attending incidents without tethering them to one spot for hours, when all it needed was a few posters and leaflets

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Malware

    Anyone reckon this outbreak is just ransomware authors playing a longer game?

  14. Paul 14

    It's funny how all these politicians and CEOs can "decide" to get tested, whereas the rest of us have been told we won't be tested unless we're already in hospital. How is this possible?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Windows

      If you have money...

      The bit that these CEOs and multi-billionaires haven't yet realised is that even if you are supremely wealthy, a pandemic can still kill you.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "How is this possible?"

      Pay as you go private healthcare. I suspect even everyday, run-of-the-mill health insurance won't pay for these tests. But of you have a "platinum" account, you get what you want.

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