British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was recently admitted to the hospital after showing persistent coronavirus symptoms, has been shifted to intensive care after his condition worsened, Downing Street has said.
On Johnson’s direction before he was moved to hospital, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has been deputised to manage affairs in his stead.
Downing Street said, shifting Johnson, 55 to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St Thomas Hospital in London was a precautionary move in case he needs ventilation to aid his recovery.
“Over the course of this afternoon (Monday), the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the ICU at the hospital,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary,” the spokesperson said.
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Raab, speaking after taking temporary charge, said the team spirit within the government would be focussed on taking Johnson’s plans to defeat the pandemic forward.
The minister said, “The governments business will continue. The Prime Minister is in safe hands with that brilliant team at St Thomas hospital, and the focus of the government will continue to be on making sure that the prime minister’s direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and can pull the country through this challenge, will be taken forward”.
“There’s an incredibly strong team spirit behind the prime minister, and making sure that we get all of the plans the prime minister’s instructed us to deliver, to get them implemented as soon as possible. And that’s the way it will bring the whole country through the coronavirus challenge that we face right now, the minister said.
Downing Street said Johnson remains conscious and is receiving excellent care, for which he thanks all National Health Service (NHS) staff for their hard work and dedication. Earlier in the day on Monday, Johnson had messaged from his hospital bed to say that he was in good spirits and staying in contact with his ministers to oversee the UK’s coronavirus fightback despite his hospitalisation on Sunday night due to persistent COVID-19 symptoms.
‘Get well soon’ wishes pour in
Among world leaders who have wished Johnson a speedy recovery are US President Donald Trump and WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Sending his best wishes to Johnson, Trump said Americans were praying for him after he was admitted to ICU.
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“I also want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine and a friend to our nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” Trump said at a press conference. “Were very saddened to hear he was taken into intensive care this afternoon, a little while ago. Americans are all praying for his recovery.” Trump said that Washington had offered to provide medical assistance if needed.
Conveying his heartfelt wishes, Ghebreyesus Tweeted, “I am thinking of my friend Boris Johnson tonight, and sending my and WHO’s heartfelt good wishes as he battles the coronavirus.” “I know the NHS and its dedicated health workers will be looking after you.”
(With inputs from agencies)