Boris Johnson taken to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen
PM ‘still conscious’ but moved after having breathing trouble
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab will ‘deputise where necessary’
Raab: Johnson’s condition ‘deteriorated over course of Monday afternoon’
Johnson was moved at 7pm on Monday - just two hours after daily press briefing
News brings outpouring of support from across British politics
Buckingham Palace: Queen ‘kept informed of prime minister’s condition’
Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds also receives huge wave of support in wake of news
Boris Johnson has been taken to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
The UK prime minister had been in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London for tests and observation, but his doctors advised he be admitted to intensive care after he experienced breathing difficulties.
His absence leaves a vacuum in leadership at a crucial time in the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far has killed 5,373 patients.
Johnson is reported to be still conscious, but was moved to an ICU at 7pm on Monday in case he needed a ventilator.
He had been admitted to hospital on Sunday after his coronavirus symptoms had persisted for 10 days for what Downing Street were precautionary tests.
A spokesman for Johnson said: “Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.
“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.
“The PM has asked foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is the first secretary of state, to deputise for him where necessary.
“The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”
It was reported on Monday night that Johnson, 55, experienced breathing difficulties earlier in the day and was given oxygen.
When it became clear that he had to be moved to intensive care, the prime minister told an aide that Raab should deputise for him, according to The Times.
Mr Raab’s first job as stand-in PM on Tuesday will be to lead the Government’s emergency daily coronavirus “war Cabinet” meeting with senior colleagues and the UK’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.
The foreign secretary said the prime minister is in “safe hands” and has been receiving “excellent care”, adding the government was focused on “making sure we can defeat coronavirus”, although he admitted that the pair last spoke on Saturday.
The prime minister himself tweeted on Monday lunchtime that he was ‘in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team’.
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
He was last seen in public on Thursday evening, when he emerged onto the steps of Downing St to join the ‘Clap for Carers’ celebration of NHS workers.
Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, previously said she had been suffering COVID-19 symptoms, but is “on the mend”. Ms Symonds, 32, who is expecting the couple’s first baby in early summer, said she was not tested for the virus.
Ministers and members of the newly formed shadow cabinet were quick to offer their support to the prime minister.
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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Terribly sad news. All the country’s thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: “My thoughts tonight are with @BorisJohnson and @carriesymonds. I know he’ll be getting the best care possible and will come out of this even stronger.”
Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with @BorisJohnson and his family as he continues to receive treatment in hospital. This horrific virus does not discriminate. Anyone can get it. Anyone can spread it. Please #StayHomeSaveLives.”
Other world leaders offered messages of support.
Donald Trump said Johnson was in a “very serious” condition to have been admitted to intensive care and offered prayers for his recovery.
At a White House press briefing on Monday, Mr Trump said: “We’re very saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive care this afternoon and 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.
French president Emmanuel Macron was the first major leader to send his wishes, tweeting: “All my support to Boris Johnson, his family and the British people at this difficult time. I wish him well.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Sending my best wishes to Prime Minister @BorisJohnson 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.”
Johnson revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19. Downing Street said he noticed mild symptoms the previous afternoon and received the test results at midnight.
In a video message on Twitter, he said: “I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.
“But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.
It follows a period when the House of Commons had continued to sit, with Cabinet meetings and daily press briefings held in person throughout the first weeks of March.
Mr Johnson tweets an image of the first ever Cabinet meeting conducted entirely online. Some question whether the PM should be continuing to work while suffering from the virus.
The PM comes out of self-isolation for a brief appearance at the door of No 11 Downing Street, where he lives, to join in the mass clapping for key workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told those gathered outside: “I am not allowed out really, I am just standing here.”
Mr Johnson is seen in a video urging people to stay home and not to break social distancing rules as the weather warmed up, even if they were going “a bit stir crazy”.
Mr Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, 32, said she is “on the mend” after suffering coronavirus symptoms.
Downing Street said Mr Johnson has been admitted to a London NHS hospital for tests as a “precautionary step” as his coronavirus symptoms persist.
Mr Johnson tweets: “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.
“I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.”
Just hours later, Downing Street said the Prime Minister’s condition had worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he had been moved to the hospital’s intensive care unit.