UK Politics

PM in ‘early phase of his recovery’ as Britons told lockdown must continue

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Boris Johnson at last appears to be out of danger at the start of an Easter weekend that ministers claim will be critical in the battle against coronavirus.

After three nights in intensive care, the prime minister is now back in a hospital ward after a gradual improvement in his condition that has left him in "extremely good spirits".

Downing Street announced Mr Johnson's move out of intensive care shortly after his stand-in, Dominic Raab, told the nation it is too early to lift the coronavirus lockdown.

Image: Boris Johnson is out of intensive care but remains in St Thomas' Hospital

With temperatures set to soar over the Easter weekend, police forces have warned they are ready to take action against those who flout rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking after chairing a COBRA meeting, Mr Raab declared: "We're not done yet. After all the efforts everybody has made, after all the sacrifices we've made, let's not ruin it now."

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The government has launched a huge Easter holiday publicity blitz urging the public to stay at home, not visit friends or family and observe the lockdown rules over the weekend.

Launching the campaign, a spokesman said: "We are at a crucial moment in preventing further transmission of coronavirus, and so it is vital that we continue following the government's guidance to stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives."

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Earlier, Number 10 posted a tweet in Mr Johnson's name urging: "This Easter, don't go and see your grandad. Instead keep in touch by video call or over the phone."

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But the government's campaigning has been dealt a blow with the disclosure that a key Johnson ally in defending the lockdown, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, drove 40 miles to visit his parents last weekend

However, a source told Sky News: "Mr Jenrick went to drop off essential medicines and food to his parents who are self-isolating due to their age. He followed guidance and left the items outside their home."

The prime minister was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening and moved to intensive care on Monday evening, prompting alarm at the heart of government and among his family members.

Announcing his move out of intensive care, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister has been moved from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. He is in extremely good spirits."

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The news came as a massive relief to cabinet colleagues and also to his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, who broke her silence on the PM's illness by tweeting a jubilant message of gratitude to the NHS.

Among the many messages of goodwill from the UK and abroad, US President Donald Trump tweeted: "Great news: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just moved out of intensive care. Get well Boris!!!"

But while there is relief that Mr Johnson is now out of danger, there are fears in Whitehall – after Number 10 spoke of "the early phase of his recovery" – that it will be at least a month before he is back at work.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab holds the Covid-19 Digital Press Conference with Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty in 10 Downing Street
'Please stay home this bank holiday weekend'

Speaking at the daily Downing Street news conference, before Mr Johnson left intensive care, Mr Raab had said the prime minister was continuing "to make positive steps forward".

But asked if he had spoken to Mr Johnson since taking over his responsibilities, the foreign secretary said: "Not yet. I think it's important particularly while he's in intensive care to let him focus on the recRead More – Source