PM Johnson in ICU with coronavirus, condition improving
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care with the coronavirus but is improving and sitting up in bed, a senior government minister said Wednesday, as the UK recorded its biggest spike in COVID-19 deaths to date.
Johnson, the first world leader diagnosed with the disease, has spent two nights in the ICU at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
“The latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving,” Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer said at a news conference. “I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.”
That glimmer of good news came as the number of COVID-19-related deaths in Britain approached the peaks seen in Italy and Spain, the two countries with the greatest number of fatalities.
Britain’s confirmed death toll reached 7,097 on Wednesday, an increase of 938 from 24 hours earlier. Italy recorded a high of 969 deaths on March 27 and Spain 950 deaths on April 2.
The figures may not be directly comparable, however. Not all the UK deaths reported each day occurred in the preceding 24 hours, and the total only includes deaths in hospitals.
The government’s deputy chief scientific adviser, Angela McLean, said despite the grim death figures, the number of new cases “is not accelerating out of control ... and that is good news”.
Johnson, 55, is one of the most high-profile of more than 60,000 people in Britain who have been confirmed to have the virus.
He was diagnosed on March 26 and still had a cough and fever 10 days later. He was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday and moved to the ICU on Monday after his condition deteriorated. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is standing in for Johnson while he is hospitalised.
Johnson spokesman James Slack said earlier Wednesday that the prime minister was receiving “standard oxygen treatment” and breathing without any other assistance.