Coronavirus: Boris Johnson in intensive care, not on COVID-19 ventilator

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in a “stable” condition after a second night in intensive care, the UK’s Health Minister Edward Argar said on Wednesday.

Johnson, who was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday with “persistent” symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, was moved into intensive care at about 7 p.m. in London on Monday.

“The Prime Minister remains stable and has not needed mechanical ventilation overnight,” UK Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Johnson said on Tuesday evening that the prime minister remained in “good spirits.”

“The Prime Minister’s condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring. He is in good spirits,” the spokesman said.

His spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that Johnson was receiving oxygen treatment but did not yet require mechanical assistance with his breathing through a ventilator.

The spokesman also said the prime minister did not have pneumonia.

The Times of London on Wednesday cited an unnamed source suggesting that the prime minister’s persistently high temperature has come down.

Johnson’s spokesman, on Tuesday, denied that the prime minister was receiving special treatment above more serious cases.

“There is significant spare capacity in intensive-care units in hospitals in London and across the United Kingdom,” he said.

Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, is standing in for Johnson while he is treated.

“The PM sent the message that he wanted the foreign secretary to assume some of his responsibilities where appropriate,” his spokesman said on Tuesday.

He added that if Raab also became ill, then Chancellor Rishi Sunak would step in to deputize for him.

Raab told the BBC that he would deputize for the prime minister “where necessary,” adding that “there is an incredibly strong team spirit behind the prime minister.”

The UK’s chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, told the BBC the whole cabinet would lead the country’s response to the virus in Johnson’s absence.

“We’re all working together to implement the plan that the prime minister set out to make sure we can marshal all the resources of government and this country to fight this invisible enemy,” Gove said.

Several of Johnson’s senior aides are also experiencing symptoms of the virus.

Johnson spent over a week in self-isolation after developing COVID-19 symptoms before he was taken to the hospital on Sunday for tests.

His condition worsened later in the day, prompting doctors to move him into intensive care.

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