The condition of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has worsened and has been moved to the intensive care unit as a precaution in the St Thomas Hospital in London, Downing Street said on Monday evening, adding that he remains conscious.
He is in ICU as a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery, officials said, after day-long speculation about the extent of his health after he was moved to the hospital on Sunday night, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.
A Downing Street spokesperson 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’.
The decision was made by Johnson’s medical team after his condition worsened over the course of Monday afternoon. Before he was moved to ICU, he asked Raab to deputise for him where necessary, officials added.
Raab said in a statement that he will deputise for Johnson ‘where necessary in driving forward the government’s plans to defeat coronavirus’, adding that the prime minister is receiving ‘excellent care’ in the St Thomas’ Hospital.
Raab said his focus in the new role will be to make sure the ‘prime minister’s direction and all the plans for making sure we can defeat coronavirus and pull the country through this challenge will be taken forward’.
‘There is an incredibly strong team spirit behind the prime minister and making sure that we get all of the plans that the prime minister has instructed us to deliver… implemented as soon as possible.’
As the United Kingdom moved into the third week of the lockdown, the Department of Health said the death toll had increased to 5,373 and the number of the number of patients testing positive for the virus rose to 51,068.
The news prompted a wave of get-well messages from cabinet colleagues and others across the political spectrum. Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, has also contracted the virus but is recovering.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘I know he’ll be getting the best case possible and will come out of this even stronger’, while senior Conservative MP Sajid Javid added: ‘Boris is one of the strongest people I know. Thinking of him, Carrie and his family tonight. Get well soon, the country needs you’.
Keir Starmer, the new leader of the opposition Labour, tweeted: ‘Terribly sad news. All the country’s thoughts are with the prime minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time,’ while predecessor Jeremy Corbyn added his thoughts were with Johnson and his family.
Former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: ‘You are in great hands and we all want you safe, well and back in 10 Downing Street.’