Boris Johnson moved to intensive care for coronavirus: What do we know about his condition?
Earlier on Monday, Johnson tweeted he was in “good spirits”. Several world leaders have sent their best wishes and support for the British leader’s recovery. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is deputising for Johnson.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to an intensive care unit in hospital after his condition with coronavirus symptoms “worsened”. He is the first leader of a major power to announce that he tested positive for COVID-19. In the present scenario, the overall charge of the British government has been handed to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital in central London late on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature, for more than 10 days.
His condition rapidly deteriorated over the next 24 hours, and he was moved to an intensive care unit - where the most serious cases are treated. Although he had received oxygen, his office said he was still conscious.
Downing Street said the move to intensive care was "a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery".
According to Downing Street the Prime Minister asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State and the most senior Cabinet minister, to deputise for him where necessary.
Just hours earlier, Johnson's office said he was in good spirits and Raab had told a news conference that the Prime Minister was still running the government.
Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 6, 2020
"The government's business will continue," a sombre Raab, 46, told reporters, saying Johnson was in the safe hands of a brilliant medical team. "The focus of the government will continue to be on making sure that the Prime Minister's direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and can pull the country through this challenge, will be taken forward."
Britain has some important decisions to make in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak. The official death toll in the United Kingdom currently stands at 5,373, and last week the Health Minister said the deadliest peak for deaths was projected to be Easter Sunday, April 12.
Johnson tested positive for the virus on March 26, the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
After 10 days of isolation in an apartment at Downing Street, he was still fighting the virus on Sunday evening with a high temperature and persistent cough, prompting his admission to hospital. He was last seen in a video message posted on Twitter on Friday when he looked weary.
"There is no doubt this turn of events means Boris Johnson is extremely sick," said Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging at University College London (UCL).
The country is in a state of virtual lockdown, a situation due to be reviewed early next week, and some ministers have suggested it might need to be extended because some people were flouting the strict rules.
There have also been calls for ministers to detail what the exit plans were from the shutdown, which has hammered the world's fifth-biggest economy after the government ordered restaurants, bars, and nearly all shops to close and told people to stay at home to curb the spread of the virus.
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth had been kept informed by Downing Street.
Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn both said their thoughts were with him.
May noted that the "horrific virus does not discriminate".
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also wished him a "speedy and full recovery".
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said his thoughts were with the Prime Minister and his pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, and that Johnson would "come out of this even stronger".
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: "The news that our Prime Minister has been moved to intensive care deepens our compassion for all who are seriously ill and for those caring for them. I invite all people of faith to join me in praying for Boris Johnson and his loved ones."
WORLD LEADERS REACT
US President Donald Trump said all Americans were praying for Johnson’s recovery. "I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine, a friend to our nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We were very saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive care this afternoon."
"Americans are all praying for his recovery. He's been a really good friend. He's been really something very special - strong, resolute, doesn’t quit, doesn't give up."
"We've contacted all of Boris' doctors and we'll see what is going to take place," he said. "But they are ready to go."
Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka said: "My thoughts and prayers are with Boris Johnson and his family. Godspeed Mr Prime Minister!"
French President Emmanuel Macron said: "All my support for Boris Johnson, his family and the British people at this difficult time. I wish him to overcome this ordeal quickly."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "Sending my best wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a full and speedy recovery. My thoughts are with you and your family right now. Hope to see you back at Number 10 soon."
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: "Boris Johnson is in our thoughts tonight. We wish him a speedy recovery and a rapid return to health."
Johnson, who is not a smoker, said recently that he wanted to lose weight. The face of the 2016 Brexit campaign, he won a resounding election victory in December before leading the UK out of the European Union on January 31.
He faced criticism for initially approving a much more modest response to the new coronavirus outbreak than other European leaders, saying on March 3 that he had been shaking hands with coronavirus patients.
He changed tack when scientific projections showed a quarter of a million people could die in the UK and in the last few weeks the virus has penetrated the British government.
Johnson and his Health Minister tested positive last month and chief medical adviser Chris Whitty self-isolated. Johnson's pregnant 32-year-old fiancée Carrie Symonds also had symptoms but said on Saturday she was feeling better.