UK PM in 'good spirits' with 'very best care' in hospital: Senior official

World Wednesday 08/April/2020 16:27 PM
By: Times News Service
UK PM in 'good spirits' with 'very best care' in hospital: Senior official

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains "in good spirits" and is stable after "receiving the very best care from the excellent medical team" in intensive care, a senior official said here Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made the remarks during Tuesday's Downing Street daily press briefing with an update on the health of the prime minister, who was moved into intensive care on Monday night after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

The prime minister's condition is being monitored closely and further updates will be issued, said Raab, noting that Johnson is breathing without help in intensive care.

There has "been a groundswell of messages of support" and everyone is wishing the prime minister a very speedy recovery, he said.

"It comes as a shock to all of us (cabinet members). He is not just a prime minister, not just our boss, but also a colleague and also our friend," he told reporters, assuring the public that the cabinet will not "blink or flinch from the task at hand".

"I'm confident he'll pull through because if there's one thing I know about this prime minister, he's a fighter," he told reporters.

Raab, who is also first secretary of state and therefore de facto deputy British prime minister, has been put in charge of running the country after Johnson was admitted to hospital. He told reporters that he believes Johnson will be back at the helm "in short order" to lead the fight against the deadly disease.

Earlier Tuesday, a Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister had been receiving "standard oxygen treatment" but had not required any other assistance in breathing.

Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday night on the advice of his doctor after continuing to display symptoms of cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, who is now in self-isolating, described the virus as "truly frightening" during a round of media interviews Tuesday morning.

Grilled for updates on the prime minister's medical condition, Gove said "he is not on a ventilator. The prime minister has received some oxygen support."

"He is kept, of course, under close supervision...By being in intensive care, if there is further support he needs, it is there at hand," he said.

Britain suffered its worst day Tuesday since the outbreak began, as the number of new deaths jumped by 786, bringing the death toll to 6,159 as of Monday afternoon, the British Department of Health and Social Care said.

As of Tuesday morning, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Britain hit 55,242, up 3,634 in the past 24 hours, said the department.

Overall, 266,694 tests have been concluded in Britain, with 14,006 tests carried out on Monday, it added.