UK's Johnson in hospital for tests, government says he's still in charge
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was undergoing tests in hospital on Monday as he is still suffering coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19, but the government insisted he remained in charge.
According to Tasnim news agency, Johnson, who had been isolating in Downing Street after testing positive for the virus last month, was taken to hospital on Sunday night because he still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he needed additional tests.
His office and ministers said Johnson, 55, continued to run the government, that the prime minister was doing well and that he would undergo “routine tests” as a precaution, though Downing Street declined to say which tests he would have.
“He’ll stay in hospital as long as he needs to do that, but I’ve heard that he’s doing well and I very much look forward to him being back in Number 10 as soon as possible,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said.
“This isn’t an emergency admission and so I certainly expect that he’ll be back at Number 10 shortly,” he said, though he gave no time frame.
On March 27, Johnson became the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive. The 55-year-old went into isolation at an apartment in Downing Street.
It was not clear how an ill prime minister could lead the government’s emergency response to the outbreak from a hospital. Some medics told Reuters it was unclear what was meant by precautionary tests for COVID-19 complications.
With only an unwieldy collection of sometimes ancient and contradictory precedents to go by, there is no formal succession plan should the prime minister become incapacitated.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, 46, chaired the government’s emergency COVID-19 meeting on Monday.
US President Donald Trump said Johnson was a “strong man” as he passed on his nation’s best wishes.
“All Americans are praying for him,” Trump said. “I’m hopeful and sure that he’s going to be fine.”