Covid-19: British PM Boris Johnson is in hospital, but ‘still in charge’
Boris Johnson’s move to a London hospital was announced on Sunday night soon after Queen Elizabeth delivered a rare message to the CommonwealthUpdated: Apr 06, 2020 18:13 IST
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was said to be “still in charge” of the UK government on Monday after he was hospitalised on Sunday night as a precautionary step for tests, 10 days after he tested positive for coronavirus that isolated him in Downing Street.
A spokesperson on Monday dismissed as ‘disinformation’ reports that Johnson is on ventilator, but did not deny that he received oxygen on Sunday night. He was described as being in “good spirits”, having spent a “comfortable night” in hospital, where he will stay another day.
Johnson’s move to a London hospital was announced on Sunday night soon after Queen Elizabeth delivered a rare message to the Commonwealth, reassuring people that “we will succeed” in the fight against the pandemic, and that “better days will return…we will meet again”.
Johnson’s hospitalisation prompted a fall in the pound’s value and apprehension in various quarters that authorities were not disclosing the full extent of Johnson’s ailment that needed the move to hospital, after he was said to have minor symptoms.
Downing Street previously announced if he were unable to perform prime ministerial functions, foreign secretary Dominic Raab would lead the government, but housing secretary Robert Jenrick insisted on Monday that he remains in charge. Raab chaired Monday’s meeting on coronavirus-related developments.
Jenrick said, “We hope that as a result of these tests (the prime minister) will be able to come back to Downing Street as soon as possible. He’s been working extremely hard leading the government and being constantly updated. That’s going to continue.”
“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,” he added.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, home secretary Priti Patel and business secretary Alok Sharma were among several leading figures across the political spectrum to wish Johnson speedy recovery.
The Downing Street spokesperson said on Sunday night: “On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests. This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus”.
“The Prime Minister thanks National Health Service staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, also tested positive but is said to be recovering.