Boris Johnson in ‘good spirits’ but virus symptoms ‘remain persistent’ – No 10

By Gavin Cordon, Sam Blewett and Harriet Line, PA Political Staff
·4-min read

Boris Johnson has said he is still suffering the symptoms of coronavirus after being admitted to hospital on Sunday, more than a week after he first tested positive for the disease.

The Prime Minister remains under observation at St Thomas’ hospital in London where he was said to be continuing to work on his official papers from his hospital bed.

It comes as new figures show 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday.

This is up by 439 from 4,934 the day before.

In a tweet, the PM said that he was in “good spirits” after being taken to hospital on the advice of his doctor to undergo some “routine tests”.

“Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms,” he said.

“I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”

Earlier Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said he continued to lead the Government after spending a “comfortable” night.

The spokesman, however, declined to give details of any treatment he had received or when he might be discharged.

“The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital for tests last night as a precaution. The issue is that his symptoms remain persistent,” the spokesman said.

“The Prime Minister had a comfortable night at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and is in good spirits. He remains in hospital under observation.”

In Mr Johnson’s absence, the daily government coronavirus meeting was chaired by Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State.

However, the PM’s spokesman said that he had received his ministerial red box containing his official papers and was continuing to work from hospital.

New people tested for coronavirus in the UK
(PA Graphics)

“He continues to receive a box. The Prime Minister remains in charge of the Government.”

The spokesman dismissed a report in Russian state media that Mr Johnson was on a ventilator as “disinformation”.

“Our specialist Government units have seen a rise in false and misleading narratives since the coronavirus pandemic started. It’s vital that any disinformation is knocked down quickly,” the spokesman said.

Mr Johnson was tested positive for coronavirus on March 27 and had been self-isolating in the Downing Street flat.

The decision to admit him to hospital was taken on the advice of his doctor as the symptoms of a cough and a high temperature continued to persist more than a week after his original diagnosis.

An ambulance was not called and the spokesman said he was taken the short distance from No 10 by “private transportation” but declined to give any further details.

Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital
Police officers outside St Thomas’ Hospital (Aaron Chown/PA)

The spokesman stressed, however, that it was “not an emergency admission”.

“His care will be dictated by the doctors who are looking after him,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has recovered from his coronavirus symptoms and is back at work, although Mr Johnson chief adviser Dominic Cummings continues to self-isolate.

It comes as NHS England confirmed that a 106-year-old was among the 403 most recent hospital deaths – the oldest victim to date to die in a hospital.

Last month, Hilda Churchill died at Kenyon Lodge care home in Little Hulton, Salford, aged 108.

Labour disclosed that shadow Northern Ireland secretary Tony Lloyd was being treated at Manchester Royal Infirmary after contracting the disease.

NHS Trusts in England with most coronavirus-related deaths
(PA Graphics)

Earlier, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that Mr Johnson was expected to be back in Downing Street “shortly”.

“He’s been working extremely hard leading the Government and being constantly updated,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“That’s going to continue.

“Obviously today he’s in hospital having the tests but he will continue to be kept informed as to what’s happening and to be in charge of the Government.

“I’m sure this is very frustrating for him, for somebody like Boris who wants to be hands on running the Government from the front, but nonetheless he’s still very much in charge of the Government.”

US President Donald Trump was among those wishing the Prime Minister well, describing him as “a great friend of mine” and adding: “I’m sure he is going to be fine, he’s a strong man, a strong person.”

However the former head of the civil service Lord Kerslake has said it may be “sensible” for Mr Johnson to “step back” if he is not well enough to carry out his role for now.

“I think in the end if he’s not well, he will have to reflect on this because the job’s tough at the best of times and it’s doubly tough now,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.