LONDON (REUTERS) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been able walk short distances as part of the care he is receiving to aid his recovery, his office said on Friday (April 10).
Johnson came out of intensive care on Thursday after three nights and is recovering in a hospital ward.
“The prime minister has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest, as part of the care he is receiving,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received.”
World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is pleased to see his friend Johnson no longer in intensive care, and wished him the best.
The flamboyant 55-year-old British leader’s visible decline shook the nation, but he came out of intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital after going in with a high temperature and cough.
“He must rest up,” his father Stanley Johnson told BBC radio, thanking Britons for their outpouring of support and telling them to heed the lesson. “If it can hit the Prime Minister for heaven’s sake, well it does come close to home.”
Mr Johnson was the first world leader to be hospitalised with the coronavirus, forcing him to hand control to Foreign Minister Dominic Raab just as Britain’s situation worsened drastically.
“You cannot walk away from this and go straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment,” Mr Stanley Johnson added.
The Prime Minister’s Downing Street office said Mr Johnson was in the “early phase” of recovery and it was unclear how long he would be in hospital.
But his improvement cheered Britain and beyond, with United States President Donald Trump hailing the “great news”.
Mr Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, who has had coronavirus symptoms, tweeted a rainbow picture – in support of healthcare workers – along with hands clapping emojis.
The government is considering when it can end a lockdown, though Mr Raab has said it was too early to make a decision because Britain had not yet reached the peak of the outbreak.
The government says it will have a better idea by next week if the lockdown has succeeded in bringing down coronavirus infections and hospital admissions.
“We’ve started already to see plateauing,” said epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London, who has helped shape the official response.
It will take several more days to see the pace of deaths drop, and more weeks to draw definitive conclusions that could allow restrictions to be lifted, he added to BBC radio.
The death toll in English hospitals rose over the past 24 hours by 866 to a total of 8,114 on Friday (April 10), health officials reported. Those who died were aged between 27 and 100, and 56 of them had no known underlying health condition, it said.
Britain is enduring its third week of stringent restrictions, during which police have assumed new powers to fine people straying too far or too long from home unless on essential work or seeking food and medicine.
With sunshine bathing the often rain-soaked nation at the start of a four-day Easter holiday from Friday, the authorities were on the lookout for those tempted out to see family and friends.
“The best way we can protect our loved ones is by staying away this Easter,” a government spokesman said.
Scotland’s chief medical officer has already resigned after flouting her own advice to stay at home, and another official was under pressure on Friday after newspapers said he travelled to a second home outside London and visited his parents.
“For clarity – my parents asked me to deliver some essentials – including medicines,” Housing Minister Robert Jenrick tweeted in defence, adding that he had left London to return to his family home.