British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in “good spirits” but remains in a stable condition in intensive care as he battles coronavirus, Downing Street has said.
- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says he expects Prime Minister Johnson to return to his role “in short order”
- Mr Johnson is stable but remains in intensive care and has received standard oxygen treatment
- The British PM is breathing on his own, without the use of a ventilator
Mr Johnson, 55, is receiving oxygen but is not on a ventilator, his spokesman said, after he was transferred into the intensive care unit on Monday night when his condition worsened and he had trouble breathing.
Members of the Royal family including the Queen had sent messages of support to Mr Johnson’s family and pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds.
“The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” he said in a statement.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak
“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.
“He has not required mechanical ventilation, or non-invasive respiratory support.”
The PM was originally taken to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday night due to a persistent high temperature and cough from the virus.
Johnson ‘a fighter’, deputy says
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the man designated by the PM to deputise for him during his absence, said Mr Johnson’s illness had been a shock to the Cabinet as he was not just their boss, but “also our friend”.
“I’m confident that he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about this prime minister, he’s a fighter,” Mr Raab said.
“He’ll be back at the helm leading us through this crisis in short order.”
Mr Raab, who is also first secretary of state, has taken over some of Mr Johnson’s responsibilities such as chairing the government’s daily coronavirus meeting, but Mr Johnson remains prime minister.
During Tuesday’s daily news conference Mr Raab was repeatedly questioned about how the arrangement will work if there a vital decision that needed to be made quickly.
“I’ve got total confidence in the arrangements that the prime minister has put in place so that I can discharge responsibility for him, deputising for him while he’s out of action, and obviously we hope that will be for a very limited period of time,” he said.
Some Conservative MPs have voiced their concern about who exactly is in charge, including former army captain Tobias Ellwood, who said “it is important to have 100 per cent clarity as to where responsibility for UK national security decisions now lies”.
“We must anticipate adversaries attempting to exploit any perceived weakness,” he tweeted.
@Tobias_Ellwood: Wishing PM swift recovery. Dominic Raab now deputising. Listening to Micheal Gove on TODAY – it is important to have 100% clarity as to where responsibility for UK national security decisions now lies. We must anticipate adversaries attempting to exploit any perceived weakness.
Meanwhile another senior Cabinet minister, Michael Gove, is self-isolating after a family member displayed coronavirus symptoms.
PM’s family in my thoughts: Queen
On Tuesday the Queen wished Mr Johnson a “full and speedy recovery” and sent a message to Ms Symonds and Mr Johnson’s family saying they were “in her thoughts”.
@RoyalFamily: Earlier today The Queen sent a message to Carrie Symonds and to the Johnson family. Her Majesty said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery.
Ms Symonds herself is recovering from coronavirus symptoms and was forced to self-isolate at her south London flat for the past week.
He also received messages of support from Prince William, who used the Kensington Palace Twitter account to say his “thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family”.
@KensingtonRoyal: Our thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family, who like so many in the UK and around the world are affected by coronavirus. We wish him a speedy recovery at this difficult time. W
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla also wished Mr Johnson a “speedy recovery”, Clarence House said.