Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson Under ‘Intensive Care’ in London Hospital

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a news conference addressing the government's response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London on March 12, 2020. - Britain on Thursday said up to 10,000 people in the UK could be infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19, …
SIMON DAWSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit Monday afternoon, his condition described as “worsened” since he was admitted to hospital Sunday evening after diagnosis with coronavirus.

Boris Johnson had been admitted to St Thomas’s hospital London, which is directly opposite Britain’s parliament across the River Thames, Sunday evening, ten days after he was initially diagnosed with coronavirus. His admission was described at the time as not an emergency and on the advice of his personal physician that he should be tested in a hospital facility.

It later emerged that Mr Johnson was administered an oxygen treatment Sunday night after his admission.

An update from the Prime Minister’s personal office and official residence, 10 Downing Street, on Monday evening revealed he had been moved to an intensive care ward during the day. Downing Street said: “over the course of [Monday] 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 of the hospital.”

UPDATE — Prime Minister was short of breath before being admitted to ICU

Sky News’s political editor Beth Rigby has said, citing government sources, that the Prime Minister found himself short of breath sometime after six-pm Monday evening, and was moved to an intensive care unit around seven. The Prime Minister was conscious at all times during this process and telephoned the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who will be standing in for the PM day-to-day while he is incapacitated, before being moved.

The Prime Minister is not on a ventilator, Rigby said during a news bulletin, noting that these were used on patients who had lost consciousness to keep their oxygen levels up.

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Until this point, Downing Street insisted that while the Prime Minister was confined to a hospital bed, he remained at the helm of government, as he had done in isolation for the previous ten days. Monday’s announcement marks a distinct departure, in that “designated survivor” Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is now officially deputising for the Prime Minister while he is incapacitated.

Mr Raab, well regarded as a sound Brexiteer and one of the most senior members of the government, was nominated as the stand-in for the Prime Minister the day Mr Johnson made his coronavirus infection public. He stood in for the Prime Minister at the Downing Street daily coronavirus press conference Monday, where he revealed that he last spoke to the Prime Minister personally on Saturday.

The Prime Minister is not the only Westminster figure to have been infected with coronavirus so far. Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds has also been reported to have had coronavirus symptoms, but is recovering. Miss Symonds, who is planning to marry the Prime Minister this year, is due to give birth to the couple’s baby in early summer.

The health secretary Matt Hancock, the government minister responsible for the UK’s response to coronavirus was diagnosed with the virus himself on the same day as the Prime Minister but has since recovered.

The heir to the British Throne Prince Charles has also tested positive, and subsequently recovered from coronavirus.

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