Coronavirus: Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for tests

‘PM continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus,’ says No 10

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Sunday 05 April 2020 22:16
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Boris Johnson stays in isolation and asks people to stay at home

Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests after experiencing persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus.

Number 10 said on Sunday evening that the prime minister was taken to an NHS London hospital as a “precautionary step” on the advice of his doctor. Mr Johnson has been self-isolating in his Downing Street flat since 27 March when he announced he had contracted Covid-19.

It is understood he remains in charge of the government’s efforts to tackle the outbreak of the disease and is in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials.

Officials insisted it was not an emergency admission to hospital and was considered “sensible” for doctors to see the prime minister given he still has a high temperature.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, however, is likely to chair the daily coronavirus meeting on Monday morning – usually led by the prime minister.

“On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” a Downing Street spokesperson said on Sunday evening.

They added: “This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus.

“The prime minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Mr Johnson announced ten days ago on social media that he had tested positive for covid-19 and was self-isolating with "mild symptoms" including a high temperature and persistent cough. He has shared several video updates from his Number 11 flat since his diagnosis, and stepped outside to join the nationwide clap for NHS staff on Thursday evening.

In a post on Friday, Mr Johnson revealed he still had “minor” symptoms of the virus and said “in accordance with government advice I must continue my self-isolation”.

“But we’re working clearly the whole time on our programme to defeat the virus,” he added, citing the government’s target to deliver 100,000 covid-19 tests per day by the end of April.

The prime minister also urged the public to stick with the strict orders on social distancing, saying: “This country has made a huge effort, a huge sacrifice, done absolutely brilliantly well in delaying the spread of the virus. Let’s stick with it now.”

On Saturday, his pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who has been living separately from the prime minister since his diagnosis, said on social media that she had been suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

"I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend," she wrote.

She said it was "obviously worrying" being pregnant and potentially having contracted covid-19 but advised anyone in a similar position to read guidance on the virus from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Pressed on the prime minister’s condition earlier today, the health secretary Matt Hancock, who has recovered after testing positive for coronavirus himself, told Sky News that Mr Johnson still had a temperature, but insisted he has “very much got his hand on the tiller”.

“He’s OK,” he added. “He’s working away inside Downing Street. He’s in good spirits.”

Reacting to Mr Johnson’s admission to hospital, the newly-elected Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “wising the prime minister a speedy recovery” – words echoed by leaders across the political spectrum.

Former health secretary and leadership rival Jeremy Hunt added: “Thoughts with Boris Johnson this evening. Whatever political persuasion the whole country is united in wanting our PM to get fit and well as soon as possible”.

It comes as the Department for Health and Social Care announced on Sunday that the UK’s death toll from the virus had increased by 621, including seven healthcare professionals, bringing the total to 4,934.

Earlier on Sunday evening, the Queen also made a rare address to the nation, in which she said if we "remain united and resolute" in the face of the outbreak "we will overcome it".

The head of state warned the country "may have more still to endure", but echoed the words of Forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynne as she said: "We will meet again."

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