Boris Johnson ‘clinically stable’ in ICU; UK to review lockdown restrictions next week

Boris Johnson ‘clinically stable’ in ICU; UK to review lockdown restrictions next week

UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson, who sparked alarm on Monday after being moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) within the St. Thomas Hospital in London following his diagnosis with COVID-19, was on Wednesday declared ‘clinically stable’.

Johson, 55, had tested positive nearly two weeks ago on March 27 and was only admitted to St Thomas hospital by Sunday evening after he had a persistent high temperature and cough. After his condition deteriorated, he was moved to an intensive care unit.

On Tuesday, his spokesperson said the PM was stable and in good spirits.

“The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support,” said a spokesperson for 10 Downing Street.

A similar statement was released on Wednesday.

“The Prime Minister’s condition is stable and he remains in intensive care for close monitoring. He is in good spirits,” a spokesperson said, according to AFP.

By Wednesday, Johnson had spend three days within the intensive care unit.

In Johnson’s absence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Saab was asked to deputize in his place, leading the daily COVID-19 emergency meetings this week as he stressed that the Cabinet is focussed on implementing the UK PM’s vision on tackling the coronavirus.

“Decision making by government is made by collective Cabinet responsibilities, so that is the same as before,” said Raab. Raab has called Johnson a ‘fighter’ and has assured the public that the UK PM would return to lead the fight against the COVId-19 outbreak in the country.

Over 6,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the UK, which currently has over 55,000 cases. Johnson had banned public gatherings on March 23 as well as imposed restrictions on non-essential services. According to Downing Street, a review of lockdown rules would be undertaken next week, as per requirements to review these conditions every 21 days.

However, according to health minister Edward Argar speaking to the BBC, the peak in cases had to pass before changes could be made, and it is still “too early to say when we will reach that peak.”

Indian-origin Rishi Sunak next in line for Deputy PM post after Raab

The UK”s Indian-origin finance minister, Rishi Sunak, is next in line to deputise for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he is in hospital with coronavirus and in case UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is unable to carry on amid the pandemic, Downing Street has said.

Sunak, who has been leading the UK government’s economic response during the COVID-19 lockdown as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will automatically step in as part of an established order of precedence in the UK – which does not have a written Constitution.

“There is an established order of precedence. The Prime Minister has appointed the Foreign Secretary [Raab] as his First Secretary of State. In line with the order of precedence, the Chancellor [Sunak] would follow from the Foreign Secretary,” Johnson”s spokesperson at Downing Street told reporters in response to a question about the chain of command at the top of the British government.

Given the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the UK, where the death toll has crossed 6,000, and its impact on frontline ministers, questions around leadership have been increasingly doing the rounds.

Sunak, 39, has had to table his maiden Budget as well as a series of mini-budgets over the past few weeks to try and address the crisis faced by UK businesses as a result of the lockdown.

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