Boris ‘Able to Do Short Walks’ as Coronavirus Recovery Continues

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he departs from Hudson Yards, in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. In a major blow to Johnson, Britain's highest court ruled Tuesday that his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country's Brexit deadline was illegal. …
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be able to walk again for brief periods after he was moved out of the intensive care unit (ICU) at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, where he is being treated for Chinese coronavirus.

Following his first night out of intensive care, a spokesman for Number 10 told media on Good Friday: “The Prime Minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery.

“He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received. His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease.”

After spending three days in intensive care, a Downing Street spokesman said he was told that Mr Johnson “was waving his thanks towards the nurses and doctors that he saw as he was being moved” out of ICU back to the ward on Thursday.

Stanley Johnson, the prime minister’s father, was relieved at the news, but told the BBC: “He almost took one for the team and we’ve got to make sure we play properly now.”

Speaking during Good Friday’s Downing Street coronavirus briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock said of his colleague: “I’m very happy to report that the prime minister’s condition continues to improve. He wants to personally thank the whole clinical team at St Thomas’ for the incredible care that he has received. His thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this terrible disease.”

The minister also announced that again, the UK saw a record daily rise in deaths, with total fatalities increasing to 8,958 people — 980 more since the day yesterday.

On the matter of where the country is in terms of winning the fight against coronavirus, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van Tam said: “There may be some signs that the curve is beginning to bend, but it’s premature, absolutely, to say that we’re at a peak.”

“The push that we’re making with social distancing has to continue,” he added, echoing earlier remarks from the health secretary calling for Britons to continue to stay at home over the long Easter weekend.

Mr Hancock revealed that he had opened the first of three mega-labs for testing in Milton Keynes, with two more in development in Cheshire and Glasgow. AstraZeneca and GSK, two of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, are opening one in Cambridge.

On shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns — critical materials for medical staff — the minister admitted that “we’re using up PPE at an unprecedented scale”.

“Going into the crisis, we did not have a major domestic PPE manufacturing industry. So, like with ventilators, and with testing, we’re creating one,” he said, outlining that many businesses are turning over their production lines “in part of this national effort”, like Burberry, which is making gowns, Rolls Royce and McLaren which are making visors, and Ineos and Diageo which are making hand sanitiser.

“Even if you’re not directly involved in the NHS, PPE supply chain, testing, or as a key worker, there is something everyone can do to play your part in the national effort: stay at home. Because spreading the virus today risks lives tomorrow,” he concluded.

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