Boris Johnson in Hospital for Persistent COVID-19 Symptoms

Peter Russell

April 06, 2020

Editor's note, 2018 BST 6th April 2020: Tonight Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

The statement read: "Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

"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.

"The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.

"The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication."


Boris Johnson remains in hospital in London after being admitted last night with persistent symptoms of COVID-19.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister tweeted that he had gone to hospital on the advice of his doctor for "routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms".

Mr Johnson said he was "in good spirits" and "keeping in touch" with his team.

The Prime Minister's spokesman declined to give details of any treatment Mr Johnson has received, or when he might be discharged.

"The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital for tests last night as a precaution," a Number 10 spokesman said.

It is understood that he spent a comfortable night and is 'under observation'.

Doctor's Advice

Mr Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital for tests at around 8pm on Sunday, around the same time that a message from the Queen was being broadcast.

A statement from Downing Street last night described the move as "a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus".

It is understood that Mr Johnson's symptoms include an elevated temperature.

Commenting on the development to the Science Media Centre, Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging science at University College London, said: "We don’t know exactly why the PM has gone to hospital except we have been told he is having tests.

"Many people attending hospital with COVID-19 have difficulty breathing.

"One test performed on these people is imaging of the lung, with ultrasound or CT scans, to get an indication of how badly their lungs are affected.  Some people are rapidly discharged.  Some others can quickly deteriorate and need help breathing.  We have no reason to believe the PM needs such help.  But there are various types of breathing help, depending on the breathing difficulties."

Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: "Clearly the Prime Minister is finding it difficult to shake this thing off.

"What it does show is how difficult it is to predict how this infection will develop, and whilst most people will experience nothing more than an annoying cold, for others this can develop into a serious and sometimes life-threatening disease."

Foreign Secretary Stands in for the PM

Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, chaired this morning's coronavirus COBRA meeting in the Prime Minister's absence.

The UK does not have a Deputy Prime Minister – the last person to occupy that position was the former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg under David Cameron – but Mr Raab is also First Secretary of State.

However, Downing Street briefed journalists that despite Mr Raab's duties, Mr Johnson continued to lead the Government's response to COVID-19. Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, said Mr Johnson was "still very much in charge of the Government" despite being in hospital.

Sir Craig Oliver, the former director of politics and communications for David Cameron, told Sky News earlier that there was "probably an acceptance that it's best for him to hand over the running of meetings to others while he's in hospital, and what he obviously needs to do is get better. The difficulty in these situations if you're a leader is you probably want to push and push and push yourself, and get yourself into a position perhaps where you're exhausted".

Mr Johnson was last seen in public applauding the NHS and other key workers from Downing Street last Thursday evening. In his tweet earlier on Monday, he said: "I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time.

"You are the best of Britain."

On Friday morning, he chaired a meeting remotely about the latest COVID-19 situation.

US President Donald Trump paid tribute to Mr Johnson at the start of his Sunday press conference.

"I want to express our nation's well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus," he said. "All Americans are praying for him. He's a friend of mine, he's a great gentleman, and a great leader."


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: