In Depth

Coronavirus: what we know about Boris Johnson’s hospitalisation

The prime minister has not recovered swiftly after being in self isolation for 10 days, and spent Sunday night in hospital

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to hospital yesterday evening on the advice of a doctor, 10 days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The hospital admission did not constitute an emergency, a Downing Street spokesperson said, and the prime minister, 55, would continue to perform his duties.

Reports on Sunday suggested Johnson was due to stay in hospital overnight because of the virus, which has so far been confirmed in 48,440 people in the UK, and killed 4,934, according to official figures.

“On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” said the spokesperson. “This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 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,” she added.

Johnson had posted a video on Friday claiming he was “feeling better” despite having not recovered entirely - and last week No. 10 dismissed reports his condition was worse than claimed.

Nevertheless, the continuation of his symptoms is in sharp contrast to those of Matt Hancock, the health secretary, who was diagnosed on the same day, but recovered and returned to work within a week.

“He’s ok. I’ve been talking to him every day, several times a day,” Hancock said of the prime minister. “He’s very much got his hand on the tiller. But he’s still got a temperature.” 

However, The Guardian speculates that the prime minister’s health may be worse than is being officially acknowledged.

“Given the increasing pressure on hospitals at the moment, it is unlikely he will have been admitted unless doctors have real concerns,” the newspaper says. “Minor tests could be carried out in Downing Street.”

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab - who is the minister designated to lead the country in the prime minister’s absence - will chair the government’s daily emergency Covid-19 committee meeting known as C-19 at 9:15 this morning.

Johnson, who has been in self isolation since his diagnosis on 27 March, received a rush of support when the news broke.

As his daily coronavirus briefing opened on the White House lawn on Sunday, President Donald Trump told Johnson that “all Americans are praying for him.”

“He’s a great friend of mine. I’m sure he is going to be fine, he’s a strong man, a strong person,” the president said.

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The new Labour leader Keir Starmer also expressed his support.

Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, revealed on Saturday that she had also shown symptoms of the virus, but is recovering.

“I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend,” she said.

“You would normally expect him to get over it quicker but there are instances where people who are fit and healthy and not over the 70 isolation threshold who do struggle a bit - and we don’t really know why,” Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist from University of Reading, told Sky News.

“They will look at his general physiology and biochemistry, make sure his organs are functioning properly and that he can breathe okay. I imagine these are fairly routine checks just to make sure he’s alright,” he added.

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