He was taken to the ICU after his COVID-19 symptoms grew worse, his office said on Monday, adding that he is conscious and does not need ventilation for now.
“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital,” Johnson’s office said in a statement to reporters on Monday.
Johnson has tasked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize in his place, according to a spokesperson.
Johnson, 55, first announced he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, on March 27, making him the first known world leader at the time to test positive for the virus. He had been isolating at his Downing Street residence.
He was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital for tests on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted in support of Johnson on Monday, wishing him well: “Sending my best wishes to Prime Minister @BorisJohnson for a full and speedy recovery. My thoughts are with you and your family right now. Hope to see you back at Number 10 soon.”
Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was recently cleared of her own COVID-19 diagnosis. She experienced “mild” symptoms and had stayed in isolation while recovering.
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Johnson’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, is herself recovering from coronavirus symptoms.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he was “very saddened” to hear the news about Johnson.
“Americans are all praying for his recovery,” Trump said on Monday. “He’s been a really good friend. He’s been really something very special — strong, resolute, doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up.”
Trump also mentioned the U.S. has made “tremendous progress” on coronavirus therapies. He said he has been in touch with some medical companies as well as Johnson’s office to “see if we can be of any help.”
“We’ve contacted all of Boris’ doctors and we’ll see what is going to take place,” he said.
Johnson continued to preside at daily meetings on the outbreak in the U.K. until Sunday. He has also released several video messages during his 10 days in isolation. Raab chaired the meeting on Monday.
In his daily COVID-19 press conference, Raab said Johnson had spent a “comfortable night” in the hospital, adding: “He’s in good spirits.”
“During the course of this afternoon, the prime minister’s condition worsened,” he told reporters Monday. “On the advice of the medical team, he was moved into a critical care unit.”
While Britain does not have an official deputy prime minister posting, Raab has been designated to take over should Johnson become incapacitated.
“The government’s business will continue, and the prime minister is in safe hands with a brilliant team,” Raab said.
As of Monday, the U.K. reported more than 51,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 5,300 deaths and close to 18,000 people in hospital with coronavirus symptoms.
A day before Johnson was admitted to the ICU, the Queen delivered a rare broadcast message to the British public, telling them that they would get through the virus outbreak if they stayed resolute in the face of lockdown and self-isolation.
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press