LONDON (1) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care and was in a stable situation on Wednesday after receiving oxygen assist for COVID-19 problems, elevating questions on how key choices can be taken in his absence.

Normal view of 10 Downing Road because the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, April 8, 2020.

Johnson, who examined optimistic practically two weeks in the past, was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital on Sunday night with a persistent excessive temperature and cough however his situation deteriorated and he was rushed into an intensive care unit.

The 55-year-old British chief has acquired oxygen assist however was not placed on a ventilator and his designated deputy, Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab, mentioned he would quickly be again on the helm because the world faces one in every of its gravest public well being disaster in a century.

“He’s comfy, he’s stable, he’s in good spirits,” Edward Argar, a junior well being minister, mentioned on Wednesday. “Whereas he’s had oxygen, he hasn’t been on a ventilator.

As Johnson battled the novel coronavirus in hospital, the UK was getting into what scientists mentioned was the deadliest part of the outbreak and grappling with the query of when to raise the lockdown.

Inside the federal government, ministers had been debating how lengthy the world’s fifth-largest financial system may afford to be shut down, and the long-term implications of probably the most stringent set of emergency controls in peacetime historical past.

The UK’s complete hospital deaths from COVID-19 rose by a report 786 to six,159 as of 1600 GMT on April 6, the newest publicly accessible dying toll, although simply 213,181 folks out of the inhabitants of round 68 million have been examined.

Britain was in no place to raise the shutdown as the height of the outbreak was nonetheless over every week away, London Mayor Sadiq Khan mentioned.

“We’re nowhere close to lifting the lockdown,” Khan mentioned.


Johnson was respiratory with none help and had not required respiratory assist, mentioned Raab, who mentioned the prime minister, whom he described as “a fighter”, remained in cost.

There are few precedents in British historical past of a chief minister being incapacitated at a time of main disaster, although Winston Churchill suffered a stroke whereas in workplace in 1953 and Tony Blair twice underwent coronary heart therapy in the 2000s.

Johnson has delegated some authority to Raab, who was appointed international minister lower than a 12 months in the past, although any main choices – reminiscent of when to raise the lockdown – would in impact want the blessing of Johnson’s cupboard.

Britain’s uncodified structure – an unwieldy assortment of typically historic and contradictory precedents – presents no clear, formal “Plan B”. In essence, it’s the prime minister’s name and, if he’s incapacitated, then as much as cupboard to resolve.

Raab mentioned ministers had “very clear instructions, very clear directions” from Johnson nevertheless it was not clear what would occur if essential choices wanted to be made which strayed from the permitted plan.

Michael Heseltine, who served as deputy prime minister to John Main in the 1990s, advised the Telegraph Raab’s place wanted to be clarified.

Former Overseas Secretary Malcolm Rifkind mentioned most main choices over the coronavirus technique had been taken with the essential exception of whether or not or to not ease the lockdown, a name that can have to be made in the following week or quickly after.

“That isn’t only a medical judgement. It needs to be a stability between the medical concerns and the implications of leaving the entire financial system shut down,” Rifkind advised BBC TV.

Whereas such a call can be made by cupboard even when Johnson weren’t unwell, he mentioned Britain’s prime minister had authority and sway because the “primus inter pares” – Latin for “first amongst equals”.

“He fairly often can steer the course in a selected method. Dominic Raab doesn’t have the authority nor would he declare it,” Rifkind mentioned.

Reporting by Sarah Younger, Kylie MacLellan and David Milliken; enhancing by Michael Holden and Nick Macfie

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