Boris Johnson hospitalised as Queen calls for united effort against coronavirus
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been in self-isolation for the past seven days after testing positive for coronavirus, was taken to hospital for further tests as a precaution.
Downing Street called it a “precautionary step” and it is understood his admission was not an emergency and he was taken to hospital on medical advice.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is designated to take over if the prime minister is unable to perform his duties but government sources said Johnson was still in charge.
Johnson is the most high-profile world leader to contract the virus. His pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, is also recovering from symptoms but has not been tested.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock returned to work on Friday after a week at home following his positive test for COVID-19. The chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, has also displayed symptoms.
Hancock on Sunday described Johnson’s condition as “OK” and said he had been in “good spirits”.
“He’s very much got his hand on the tiller,” he told Sky News television but said Johnson was being careful to follow government advice on self-isolation.
Medical experts said doctors would likely be assessing Johnson’s lung and heart function.
“Doctors will be monitoring important vital signs such as oxygen saturations,” said Rupert Beale, a group leader at the cell biology of infection laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute.
“They will also check blood tests to see what the immune response to the virus looks like, and to assess liver and kidney function.”
US President Donald Trump said he was “hopeful and sure” Johnson would recover, calling the prime minister “a friend of mine” and a “great leader”.
- ‘We’ll meet again’ -
The Downing Street announcement came as the 93-year-old queen offered a message of hope to everyone affected by the global pandemic, which has seen more than 1.2 million cases and more than 68,000 deaths.
Britain currently has 47,806 confirmed hospital cases and 4,934 deaths. The monarch’s eldest son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, has tested positive after displaying mild symptoms.
In only her fourth address at a time of crisis in her 68-year reign, the queen said the outbreak could be defeated by a collective effort in a “common endeavour”.
“We will succeed -- and that success will belong to every one of us,” she said in a speech recorded at Windsor Castle, west of London, where she moved as a precaution on March 19. – AFP