Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s health has worsened and officials said he had been transferred to intensive care in a London hospital.
Johnson was admitted to London’s St. Thomas’s Hospital on Sunday, 10 days after being tested positive for COVID-19. Officials at 10 Downing Street said at the time that he was admitted on the advice of his doctors as he continued to have high temperatures and other symptoms.
Authorities downplayed the severity of Mr. Johnson’s illness early Monday and insisted that he continue to run the government. In a message posted on Twitter Monday morning, Johnson said, “I am in a good mood and keep in touch with my team as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.” “
But on Monday evening, officials said the Prime Minister had taken a turn for the worse. “During the afternoon, the Prime Minister’s condition worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit,” said a statement from Downing. Street. Officials added that Johnson remained aware “at the time.” They also said that he was transferred to intensive care around 7 p.m. local time as a precaution “if he needs ventilation to help him recover”.
Johnson, 55, has replaced Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to take office.
The news shook the government and sent shock waves across the country. He also raised more questions about how the government will handle the health crisis that has killed more than 5,000 people in Britain.
“He is a friend and, as Prime Minister, it is a bad time. This is a bad time for anyone, “said Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a high-profile Conservative MP who successfully led the campaign for Mr. Johnson’s leadership last summer.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said on Twitter: “All thoughts of the country are with the Prime Minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time. “
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement that he “prayed for the Prime Minister’s speedy recovery”.
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A few hours earlier, Mr. Raab had expressed his confidence that Mr. Johnson would remain at the head of the government and oversee his response to the pandemic. However, officials said the Prime Minister did not chair Monday’s daily meeting of the coronavirus response committee, which includes ministers and public health experts. Mr. Raab took his place instead.
Britain has neither Deputy Prime Minister nor line of succession. However, Mr. Johnson made it clear last week that Mr. Raab would be an alternate if necessary. If the Prime Minister dies, the Cabinet should recommend a successor to the Queen.
There had already been calls for Mr. Johnson to step down and focus on recovery. “Be careful, boss. Get well. Return to combat. But for now, rest, take care of yourself and let others do the heavy lifting, “Minister James Duddridge said on Twitter on Monday.
Former head of the public service Robert Walter Kerslake told the BBC that Mr. Johnson should step down. “I think at the end of the day, if he is not doing well, he will have to think about it because the job is difficult at best and it is doubly difficult now,” he said.
Mr. Raab will now be responsible for coordinating the government’s efforts regarding the coronaviruses, which have already been under pressure. Britain has 51,608 confirmed cases of the virus and 5,373 people have died. Both of these numbers have increased steadily, although the growth rate has slowed in recent days. This could be an indication that the country is near the peak of the epidemic.
But England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Monday that it was too early to be sure. He also said it was too early to consider reducing the lockdown restrictions imposed by Mr. Johnson two weeks ago.
Raab also said any decision to loosen the lock should wait until more data is available. “The risk is that if we start to look away from the coronavirus and get to the top … we risk delaying the point [at which we can start] flexibility measures, “he told reporters.
Raab told the BBC Monday night that he would work to ensure that “the Prime Minister’s leadership and all plans to make sure we defeat the coronavirus and get the country out of this challenge are put into action.” artwork.”
He added that there was “an incredibly strong team spirit behind the Prime Minister and ensuring that we get all the plans that the Prime Minister asked us to implement … implemented as soon as possible”.
Spain and Italy have also seen the epidemic stabilize there to some extent in recent days, and authorities have started to discuss ways to get out of the blockages. In Austria, the government has announced a phasing out of its foreclosure, with some stores due to reopen next week. And in Denmark, officials said schools could reopen on April 15 if the spread of the virus continues to stabilize.
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