Boris Johnson stable after night in intensive care, says No 10
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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he had been receiving “standard oxygen treatment” but had not required any other assistance in breathing.
Mr Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, on Monday evening, after his condition deteriorated.
His spokesman said the move was a “precautionary step” in case he needed to be put on a ventilator.
“The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” the spokesman said.
“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.
“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”
Mr Johnson was originally admitted to St Thomas’ on Sunday on the advice of his doctor after continuing to display symptoms of cough and high temperature ten days after testing positive for the virus.
The speed of the Prime Minister’s decline has caused palpable shock at Westminster after his symptoms were previously described as “mild”.
His spokesman, however, rejected claims that No 10 had sought to hide the seriousness of his condition.
“We have been fully frank with you throughout,” the spokesman told reporters.
“We have issued you with regular updates on the Prime Minister’s health.
“His condition worsened yesterday afternoon. A decision was taken that he needed to be moved to an intensive care unit at around 7pm.
“We informed you all as soon as was practically possible. We have a commitment to be as transparent as we can be throughout this process.”
In Mr Johnson’s absence, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, will stand in for him “whenever necessary”, including leading the daily meetings of the coronavirus “war cabinet”.
However, the Prime Minister’s weekly calls with the Queen have been suspended while he remains indisposed.
The spokesman said that the Queen would continue to be kept regularly updated about his condition.
The spokesman confirmed that Mr Johnson had been unable to speak directly to Mr Raab since he has been in hospital.
“The Prime Minister sent a message that he wanted the Foreign Secretary to assume some of his responsibilities where appropriate,” the spokesman said.
If Mr Raab were to fall ill, under the established Cabinet order of precedence he would be replaced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Ministers insisted that despite Mr Johnson’s absence, along with other key No 10 figures, the business of government was continuing as normal.
Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove said they were committed to following the Prime Minister’s plan for tackling the virus.
“We’re all working together to implement the plan the Prime Minister set out in order to try to ensure that we can marshal all the resources of government, indeed all the resources of our country, in the fight against this invisible enemy,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“We have a superb Civil Service and they have ensured that the machinery is there for decisions to be made by ministers, by medical and scientific experts, and for those decisions to be followed through in a way which enables us to help those at the front line.”
However the toll it was taking on Whitehall was underlined when it emerged that Mr Gove himself had been forced to self-isolate, because a member of his family was showing symptoms.
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