Britain’s PM Boris Johnson spent his second night in an intensive care unit receiving supplemental oxygen, as Britain reels under the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that’s confined its exuberant leader to a bed reserved for the sickest patients.
Johnson is the first world leader to fall sick with the virus. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is carrying out the PM’s duties in his absence, says Johnson is “receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance. He’s not required any mechanical ventilation.”
Covid-19 can inflame the airways and make it difficult to breathe. Some patients develop pneumonia, which can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is sometimes fatal.
55 year old Mr. Johnson has no known underlying health conditions. His official spokesman says the prime minister is not suffering from pneumonia, but persistent cough and fever.
“The prime minister’s condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring. He is in good spirits.”
The UK’s Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove says that the government “will ensure the country is updated” on Johnson’s health, Before his transfer to the ICU at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London on Monday, officials evaded questions about his condition and what tests and treatment he was receiving.
Later yesterday, Gove said he himself would have to go into isolation at home for 14 days, after a family member began to display mild symptoms of infection.
Asked at a news conference last night who would make tough decisions with Johnson in intensive care, Raab downplayed his role, stressing that “normal Cabinet collective responsibility” will apply.
The foreign secretary said there is “total unity” and “total resolve” among cabinet members, who have been given “very clear instructions” by the PM to continue with their plan to fight the pandemic.
He suggested the country’s lockdown will not be relaxed next week, when the government has scheduled its first formal review of the effectiveness of its order to stay at home.
As of today, Britain has confirmed 55,242 coronavirus cases and reported 6,159 deaths. The country, like the US, expects those numbers to continue to surge for days, perhaps weeks. Johnson’s illness has stunned Britain, sparking an outpouring of support for the PM and fear of what might come next.
Queen Elizabeth II yesterday sent a message Johnson’s family and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, who has been self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms and is pregnant with the couple’s first child.