Boris Johnson's father believes PM has strength to beat coronavirus

‘He is optimistic, determined and resilient’: Boris Johnson’s father Stanley believes PM has the strength to beat coronavirus as he reveals he is being kept in the dark about his son’s condition

  • Stanley Johnson has revealed he is having to keep up with son Boris’s coronavirus condition on the news 
  • The Prime Minister was transferred to the ICU at St Thomas’ Hospital in London at 7pm yesterday evening 
  • He remains conscious and Number 10 sources stressed he had been moved to intensive care as a precaution 
  • Spokesman revealed premier is still ‘breathing unassisted’ and finally confirmed he does not have pneumonia 

Boris Johnson’s father today has declared his son ‘a fighter’ as the Prime Minister continues his intensive care battle against the killer coronavirus.

Stanley Johnson, 79, who has himself gone into self-isolation following his son’s illness, said he is having to follow his son’s progress by watching the news.

‘I am not being told how Boris is getting on. But he is optimistic, determined and resilient,’ said Mr Johnson.

He added that Boris could draw on his time growing up in tough conditions on a farm to find the strength to beat the disease.

Speaking to MailOnline, Stanley said: ‘It gave him time to reflect upon things, to take things in. This is what will stand him in good stead at this most worrying time, for the country, and for Boris and his family.

‘I hope that Boris will have time to recuperate at Chequers where I understand they have got a very good farm of 2,000 acres. He will be at home there, and in his element.’

Stanley, who is an author as well as a former MP, said his son was very much a man of the countryside and had grown up to be ‘hardy’.

‘Boris is not just a classicist but a countryman and that will give him a lot of strength at this time. He is not just ‘rus in urbe’ but ‘rus in rus’, meaning he is a countryman to boot.’

Speaking at his 500-acre country home in Exmoor, Devon, he went on: ‘A lot of my son’s character was formed here and in the local village of Winsford.

Stanley Johnson, 79, believes son Boris will beat the coronavirus, but revealed that he has had to follow his battle against the illness through TV news

The Prime Minister was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London at 7pm yesterday evening

‘Boris was brought up to be hardy on our hill farm, as was I, dipping sheep and working with the animals.

‘Ours was not a household that had dinner parties, we were not hunting, shooting and fishing but Exmoor farmers.

‘Boris would mark the sheep at lambing time and brand the letter J on their backs before they went to market.

‘Boris was there, mucking in at all times. A part of the very person he is, optimistic, determined, resilient, came from this Exmoor valley.’

Mr Johnson snr and his second wife, Jennie are self-isolating in Devon after leaving their London home for protection against the virus.

Boris Johnson (pictured as his health worsened on April 3) has spent the night in intensive care but there has been ‘no change’ in his coronavirus condition

It comes as Downing Street said the Prime Minister is ‘breathing without assistance’ in intensive care and does not have pneumonia.

Forced to issue a statement to quash rampant speculation, the PM’s spokesman said he was ‘stable overnight and remains in good spirits’, having received ‘standard oxygen treatment’.  

Mr Johnson has also not needed a mechanical ventilator despite mounting concerns over his health. 

The more positive news came after Michael Gove said the premier’s plight is ‘truly frightening’ and ministers are ‘praying’ for his swift recovery. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been ‘deputised’ to take charge while he is out of action.

But there are growing concerns about the effectiveness of the government machine while the incumbent of No10 is unable to lead the crisis response, potentially for many weeks to come. Some survivors of the virus have warned it took them two months to recover fully.

Mr Johnson was moved to ICU at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London and given oxygen last night after his health deteriorated sharply over just two hours, leaving doctors fearing he will end up needing a ventilator. 

But the 55-year-old’s spokesman said today: ‘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.’ 

In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Mr Gove played down concerns that the government will be paralysed with the leader out of action, insisting that Mr Johnson had already been on a ‘stripped back diary’ for days and ‘Cabinet is the supreme decision making body’, 

However, within hours it had emerged that Mr Gove himself had also been impacted by coronavirus, as he has gone into self-isolation following a family member displaying symptoms.  

New Prime Ministers usually write ‘letters of last resort’ to nuclear submarine captains, setting out instructions if government is wiped out by an enemy strike. But No10 said Mr Johnson’s existing letters will continue to apply, rather than Mr Raab writing new ones. 

MPs have raised alarm that hostile states such as Russia – which has already been accused of spreading disinformation about Mr Johnson’s condition – could try to exploit Britain’s ‘weakness’. 

General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, said the armed forces ‘work straight through to the Prime Minister’, although he suggested the National Security Council (NSC) will now fill the gap.

Asked who will be in control of the nuclear deterrent and armed forces, the PM’s spokesman said: ‘In relation to national security matters the First Secretary of State and the Cabinet have the authority and the ability to respond in the Prime Minister’s absence.’ 

The Queen is being kept informed about Mr Johnson’s condition and has send a message of support to Mr Johnson’s pregnant partner Carrie Symond and the PM’s family.

But she will not grant audiences to Mr Raab while he is standing in for the premier. The monarch appoints the PM, choosing the individual who is best placed to carry a majority in the Commons.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump revealed he has offered to send Mr Johnson experimental drugs to treat his coronavirus. 

As the Prime Minister was treated in hospital:

  • A record high 854 coronavirus deaths have been announced in the UK today, taking the total to 6,227, and dashing faint hopes that the peak might have been reached; 
  • The Queen has sent a message to Ms Symonds and the Johnson family saying they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a ‘full and speedy recovery’; 
  • Aides to Mr Gove said he was following the official guidance by going into quarantine for 14 days, but was not himself feeling ill and would continue working;
  • No10 chief adviser Dominic Cummings is still working from home after self-isolating just after Mr Johnson;
  • The Queen has issued a message to NHS workers praising their ‘selfless coommitment and diligence’ as she marked World Health Day amid the coronavirus crisis;  
  • World leaders and politicians around the globe rallied around Mr Johnson, who received well wishers from David Cameron, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump;
  • Health experts have warned that the PM’s admission to intensive care means he is ‘extremely sick’ and he is ‘likely’ to end up needing a ventilator; 

Mr Raab raised concerns as he was seen coughing leaving the Foreign Office to go to Downing Street this morning

Workers in personal protection gear were cleaning buildings in Westminster today amid fears it is a hotbed for coronavirus

Mr Gove revealed today that he has gone into self-isolation after a family member started showing coronavirus symptoms

Donald Trump offers experimental drugs as world rallies round virus-stricken Prime Minister 

Donald Trump joined world leaders throwing their support behind Boris Johnson as he wished him a speedy recovery

Donald Trump has offered to send Boris Johnson experimental drugs to treat his coronavirus.  

The US president joined world leaders throwing their support behind the PM after he was moved in to intensive care.

Hundreds of messages of support have been sent to Mr Johnson by Conservative colleagues, opposition MPs and world leaders.

The President, speaking at a White House press briefing, said: ‘I want to send best wishes to a great friend of mine, and a great friend of our nation, Boris Johnson.

‘We are very saddened to hear that he was taken into intensive car this afternoon, a little while ago. Americans are all praying for him. He’s been a really good friend.

‘He’s very strong, resolute. Doesn’t quit, doesn’t give up.’

Mr Trump said: ‘I’ve asked two of the leading companies … They’ve come with the solutions and just have done incredible jobs – and I’ve asked him to contact London immediately. 

‘The London office has whatever they need. We’ll see if we can be of help. We’ve contacted all of Boris’s doctors, and we’ll see what is going to take place, but they are ready to go.’ 

French President Emmanuel Macron also wished Mr Johnson well, saying: ‘All my support for Boris Johnson, his family and the British people at this difficult time.

‘I wish him to overcome this ordeal quickly.’ 

The PM’s sharp downturn came 11 days after he first suffered coronavirus symptoms and went into isolation. He looked increasingly unwell when glimpsed in public and in ‘selfie’ videos posted on on social media, and ministers were then shocked by his grim appearance at a Zoom conference on Sunday.

Downing Street sources confirmed Mr Johnson is not yet on a ventilator – but was moved to intensive care to be near one if needed. Some medical experts forecasting this course of action is now ‘very likely’.

Two thirds of patients in intensive care with coronavirus are sedated and put on a ventilator within 24 hours of arriving as the illness attacks their lungs. 

Only two hours before his move to intensive care, No10 was insisting Mr Johnson was still spearheading the government’s coronavirus response, despite de facto deputy Mr Raab chairing the morning crisis meeting.

Yet shortly after the Foreign Secretary left the Number 10 podium following the daily 5pm press briefing, Mr Johnson, 55, suffered breathing problem. 

Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, held an emergency video conference with the cabinet to tell them the bad news, in a moment one minister described as ‘truly shocking’. 

No10 has been urged to be more ‘transparent’ about the premier’s condition, amid claims a hospital bed was being prepared for him as early as last Thursday. 

Mr Gove said today: ‘If there is any change in his condition we will ensure the country is updated.’  

Downing Street said Mr Raab is working from the Foreign Office but is being assisted by officials from ‘across Government’ as he co-ordinates the coronavirus response. 

The spokesman said Mr Raab and the Cabinet would be able to order military action without the consent of the Prime Minister.

As First Secretary of State, he would chair any meeting of the National Security Council.

Should Mr Raab be forced to self-isolate or take ill, Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be next in line to take over.

Former cabinet member and Tory peer Baroness Nicky Morgan described Mr Johnson’s condition as ‘worrying’, adding she understood it was ‘very much a skeleton staff now’ at Downing Street. 

Speaking to ITV News, former prime minister David Cameron said: ‘Well obviously it’s very worrying news and all of us are praying for Boris and thinking of him and praying and thinking of his family.

‘And hoping he gets well soon and gets back to Number 10, where I know he wants to be and where we all want him to be.

‘Boris is very tough, very resilient, very fit person, I know that from facing him on the tennis court and I’m sure he’ll come through this.

‘Of course he’s very resilient, he’s tough, also he’s got a tremendous zest for life, and getting things done, and for leading and for taking decisions.

‘I know he’ll want to get well and get back in charge again, and that’s what we all want for him. And we’re hoping and praying that that’s the case and that’s the case very soon.’

Mr Johnson was conscious last night and had not been intubated – the process of putting a tube in the windpipe to aid breathing. 

He required around four litres of oxygen rather than the 15 litres used by an average Covid-19 ICU patient, according to the Times. 

Speaking last night, Mr Raab vowed that ‘government business will continue’ and said there is a strong ‘team spirit’ rallying around the leader.  He also reassured that the premier was ‘receiving excellent care’ and thanked the NHS staff who were treating him and other patients across Britain. 

Mr Johnson’s handing of power to Mr Raab – the second most senior cabinet minister after the PM himself – came after days of insisting he remained in the driving seat of the UK’s fightback against the virus.

But on Sunday, the tenth day of isolation in his Number 11 flat, Mr Johnson’s declining health became clear to Cabinet colleagues during a 10am Zoom video conference call. 

During the 45-minute meeting with ministers including Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak and Matt Hancock, insiders described the PM as pale and strained, while some detected breathlessness as he spoke. 

A Number 10 spokeswoman said last night: ‘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.’

Downing Street has been accused of downplaying the seriousness of Mr Johnson’s illness.

When he was admitted to hospital on Sunday night, Number 10 made clear he was undergoing tests as a precaution on the advice of his doctor.

But a Tory source said: ‘No 10 tried to play this down but think it through: the Prime Minister was being taken to hospital in his car at 8pm on Sunday, the precise moment the Queen was making her broadcast to the nation. It therefore cannot have been completely routine.’

Insiders on the Sunday Zoom cabinet call also claimed it was clear Mr Johnson was not well.

A senior Whitehall source said: ‘His symptoms were persisting. He was plainly not getting any better. In fact he’d got worse.’  

Cummings ‘is still working from home’ 

Dominic Cummings is yet to return to Downing Street after developing coronavirus symptoms and entering self-isolation more than a week ago.  

Boris Johnson’s top aide has not been seen in public since before Monday March 30 when he put himself into isolation after getting symptoms over the weekend. 

Number 10 has been insistent that Mr Cummings is working remotely but his continued absence is likely to spark further scrutiny of the health of key government players, especially after Mr Johnson was hospitalised with the disease. 

There are growing concerns about the state of the Downing Street operation after numerous staff were laid low by the killer bug.

The PM’s other top adviser, Sir Eddie Lister, 70, has not been seen in public since the start of lockdown with his age putting him in an at-risk group. A number of other aides have also been off with symptoms. 

The return of Mr Cummings would therefore act as a major boost to the government and dampen accusations of there being a political vacuum at the heart of Whitehall after Dominic Raab became de facto prime minister.  

Downing Street said that Mr Cummings is working but not from Number 10 and insisted Number 10 is ‘fully operational’. 

Determined to emulate the grit of his political hero Winston Churchill, insiders said Mr Johnson was reluctant to go to hospital. 

A source said: ‘Do not underestimate the macho nature of the Westminster political Establishment. Boris will not have wanted to look weak.’  

However, he eventually gave ground to his doctor and travelled to St Thomas’ with bodyguards on Sunday night. 

It was the first time Mr Johnson was believed to have left Downing Street since Thursday, when he stood on the steps of Number 11 to applaud NHS workers at 8pm. 

This was the last time the PM has been seen in public and came amid whisperings in Westminster that he was not as well as aides were claiming. 

The next day, wearing an open collar shirt and looking exhausted, the PM used a Twitter video to reveal he had failed to shake off his high temperature and so would continue to self-isolate, while still keeping a firm hand on the tiller. 

Mr Raab is now primed to take charge of the government’s coronavirus response and deputise for Mr Johnson ‘where necessary’, although it is understood he will not be a temporary PM. 

At yesterday’s Downing Street press briefing, he confirmed a further 439 coronavirus deaths, taking the toll to 5,373, while the number of patients rose by 3,802 to 51,608.   

The army has been on patrol outside St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, where Mr Johnson is being treated

Flowers were delivered to Downing Street today as a wave of support for the PM swept across the nation 

In a round of broadcast interviews this morning, Cabinet minister Michael Gove said Mr Johnson was getting the ‘best care’

Fit for office? UK Prime Ministers who have fallen ill while at the helm 

On Monday evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken into intensive care in London after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. 

But he’s not the only British Prime Minister to become incapacitated by illness while serving at the helm.

David Lloyd George: Lloyd George served as Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922.

In September 1918 he developed a sore throat after visiting Manchester’s Albert Square and mingling in crowds during a ceremony for soldiers and munitions workers.

It later became clear he had Spanish influenza. He spent 11 days inside and was hooked up to a ventilator.  

Harold Wilson: Wilson served as Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1976.

During his second term in office from 1974 to 1976 he suffered from colon cancer.

It was also suggested that he had suffered from Alzheimer’s after doctors analysed his speech patterns during his previous addresses. 

Winston Churchill: Churchill served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.

His personal physician claimed he suffered from clinical depression throughout his time as Prime Minister.

In 1941 he suffered a heart attack at the White House and contracted pneumonia a few years later. 

In 1949 he also suffered a stroke on holiday and suffered a third while in office in 1953, leaving him paralysed on one side. 

In 1956 he suffered another stroke. 

Tony Blair: Blair served as Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007. 

In 2004 he was rushed to Hammersmith Hospital, where he was found to be suffering from supraventricular tachycardia, which is when a person suffers from an abnormal heart rhythm. 

In 2005 he received treatment for a heart flutter.

Gordon Brown: Brown served as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010.

After a rugby accident as a teenager Mr Brown lost his sight in one eye.

In 2009 he told the Andrew Marr show that this had made it difficult for him over the years.

He said: ‘I feel that I have done everything to show people that I can do the job even with the handicap that I’ve had as a result of a rugby injury.’ 

Theresa May: May served as Prime Minster from 2016-2019.

In 2012 she visited the doctor because she thought she had bronchitis but was actually diagnosed as having Type 1 Diabetes. 

Health experts tonight appeared unanimous in their view that the PM’s admission to intensive care means he is ‘extremely sick’. 

But the four litres of oxygen which the Times reports were given to Mr Johnson is below the 15-litre threshold for typical intensive care patients, suggesting he is not as ill as most in ICUs. 

World leaders and politicians around the globe rallied around Mr Johnson, who received well wishers from David Cameron, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump.   

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a tweet saying his thoughts and prayers are with Mr Johnson this morning.

He said: ‘To my dear friend @BorisJohnson , my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as you fight for a swift recovery. The people of Japan stand with the British people at this difficult time.’

The Queen has also been kept informed by Downing Street about Mr Johnson’s condition, Buckingham Palace said. 

Mr Raab last night vowed to keep the machines of government firing on all cylinders while the PM recovered.

The one-time Tory leadership contender said: ‘The Prime Minister is in safe hands with that brilliant team at St Thomas’ hospital, and the focus of the Government will continue to be on making sure that the Prime Minister’s direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and can pull the country through this challenge, will be taken forward.’

He added: ‘There’s an incredibly strong team spirit behind the Prime Minister, and making sure that we get all of the plans the Prime Minister’s instructed us to deliver, to get them implemented as soon as possible.

‘And that’s the way it will bring the whole country through the coronavirus challenge that we face right now.’

Senior doctors branded the PM’s admission to intensive care a ‘huge concern’ and underscores how indiscriminate the virus is.

Dr Simon Clarke, a professor on cellular microbiology at Reading University, told Sky News: ‘The NHS particularly in this moment doesn’t give up intensive care beds just for people to be looked over. It doesn’t work that way even for PMs.

‘He wouldn’t be in intensive care unless he needed to be in intensive care. Especially not at this time.’

He added: ‘It is probably about time that the press people in No10 started levelling with us about what his condition really is.’ 

Downing Street sources confirmed Mr Johnson is not yet on a ventilator, although medical experts forecast this course of action is ‘very likely’. 

Prof Derek Hill, Professor of Medical Imaging, University College London, said: ‘As often happens with COVID-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care where he is very likely to have been put on a mechanical ventilator to breath for him.’

He added: ‘One of the features of COVID-19 in all countries seems to be that many more men become seriously ill than women – especially in the over 40 age group. 

‘Also we know that people under about 60 seem to have a higher chance of making a recovery from critical illness with COVID-19 than older people. But there is no doubt this turn of events means Boris Johnson is extremely sick.’  

Politicians of all stripes rallied around Mr Johnson, including from ex-prime minister David Cameron and French President Emmanuel Macron

Now Michael Gove goes into self-isolation  

Michael Gove has gone into self-isolation after a family member showed symptoms of coronavirus, it was revealed today.

The Cabinet Office minister said he was following the official guidance by going into quarantine for 14 days, but was not himself feeling ill.

Posting on Twitter, Mr Gove said: ‘In accordance with the guidance, I am isolating at home after a member of my family started to display mild symptoms of coronavirus on Sunday. 

‘I have not displayed any symptoms and am continuing to work as normal.’

Despite the reassurance, the news will heighten concerns about paralysis at the heart of government. 

Mr Johnson’s pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds, who is due in the early summer, is self-isolating in her own Camberwell apartment with the couple’s dog Dilyn after symptoms surfaced. 

The 32-year-old said on Saturday: ‘I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.’ 

Politicians of all stripes rallied around Mr Johnson, including from ex-prime minister David Cameron and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘My thoughts are with the PM and his family – sending him every good wish.’

Business minister Nadim Zahawi tweeted: ‘Thoughts & prayers for Boris Johnson & Carrie Symonds and their family. 

‘I have known Boris for 20 years he is a fighter and will beat this virus.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak tweeted: ‘My thoughts tonight are with Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds. I know he’ll be getting the best care possible and will come out of this even stronger.’

Members of the newly-formed shadow cabinet offered their support for the PM.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy tweeted: ‘Awful news. My very best wishes to the Prime Minister, as well as his partner Carrie, family and friends. Get well soon Boris Johnson.’ 

Coronavirus survivors warn PM that recovery can take months 

Survivors of coronavirus who spent time on intensive care wards have shared their experience of fighting the disease as Boris Johnson battles the killer infection in hospital.

Matt Dockray, 39, described the illness as ‘the most horrible experience you will go through’ – and warned that recovery is likely to take six-eight weeks. 

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the father-of-one said: ‘It’s a horrible, horrible experience. You’re very lonely. You don’t have any friends or family there so you don’t have that emotional, personal support you rely on in your hardest times.’ 

But he warned that recovery can take six to eight weeks. ‘There’s people who have been on those ventilators for a lot longer and they’ve come out and lived to tell the tale.There’s quite a few of us getting clapped out of the hospital that prove you can get back to normal,’ he said.

‘There’s still a long road of recovery, it takes about six to eight weeks, but you can sit here and tell the tale and fight this.’

Mr Johnson fell ill with the virus on the same day as Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has since recovered.

Alarm bells started ringing that the nerve centre of the government’s crisis response had been compromised when chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and top Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings also began showing symptoms. Meetings have since taken place via videolink.  

Survivors of coronavirus who spent time on intensive care wards have shared their experience of fighting the disease as Boris Johnson battles the killer infection in hospital.

Matt Dockray, 39, described the illness as ‘the most horrible experience you will go through,’ when he appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

The father-of-one said: ‘It’s a horrible, horrible experience. You’re very lonely. You don’t have any friends or family there so you don’t have that emotional, personal support you rely on in your hardest times.’ 

But he warned that recovery can take six to eight weeks. ‘There’s people who have been on those ventilators for a lot longer and they’ve come out and lived to tell the tale.There’s quite a few of us getting clapped out of the hospital that prove you can get back to normal,’ he said.

‘There’s still a long road of recovery, it takes about six to eight weeks, but you can sit here and tell the tale and fight this.’

Your questions answered as Boris Johnson is moved to intensive care in his battle against coronavirus

Why did Mr Johnson first go to hospital?

He was admitted to St Thomas’ in London at around 8pm on Sunday, ten days after testing positive. Doctors advised him to seek treatment as his ‘persistent symptoms’, including a cough and a temperature, had not improved. His slow recovery is a red flag for complications including pneumonia. No 10 said it was a ‘precautionary step’ so Mr Johnson could have routine tests, which are likely to include procedures which can only be done in hospital.

What happens in intensive care?

Downing Street said the Prime Minister remained conscious last night and was moved to intensive care ‘should he require ventilation’. 

There are two types of ventilators used: non-invasive ventilation and invasive ventilation. Non-invasive ventilation means the patient stays conscious and is given a specialised mask which pumps air at high pressure into the lungs. 

These are called continuous positive airway pressure machines. If this does not work, patients are intubated – have a tube put down their throat into their airway – and placed on an invasive ventilator. They have to be placed in a drug-induced coma and paralysed while the mechanical ventilator takes over their breathing. ICU ventilators have built-in sensors to adjust the amount of oxygen the patient needs.

How common is it to be hospitalised and how high risk is he?

The Prime Minister, 55, is one of 17,911 people to have been admitted to an NHS hospital with coronavirus so far. 

Latest research estimates between five and ten per cent of those who get the virus end up in hospital. The older you are, the more likely you are to need hospital treatment. 

A study found that eight per cent of people in their 50s with the virus need hospital treatment and 0.6 per cent die. Mr Johnson has no known underlying health conditions. But he has struggled with his weight and in December 2018 revealed that he weighed 16 and a half stone. 

Obesity is a risk factor for complications and men are more likely to be hospitalised than women.

How long could he stay in intensive care?

Some patients spend just a day there before recovering and going to a general ward. Others have spent more than three weeks in intensive care units.

What initial tests and treatment did he have and why?

Coronavirus is a respiratory disease so initial tests will have focused on establishing how badly his lungs were damaged. Most patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus have difficulty breathing and get oxygen support. 

Mr Johnson’s oxygen saturation levels will have been monitored by a sensor clipped to a fingertip. Doctors will also have scanned his lungs. 

Other tests establish if major organs have been affected by a lack of oxygen. This includes an ECG and blood tests for the liver and kidneys. 

Patients have their white blood cell counts monitored to show immune response. 

His move to ICU suggests these key measures, most importantly oxygen levels, were continuing to deteriorate yesterday.

What treatment could he receive?

The highest level is mechanical ventilation, which requires patients to be fully sedated. There are no established drugs for coronavirus and antibiotics do not work on viruses.

Could continuing to work make it worse?

The Prime Minister did not take any time off and vowed to continue leading the Government from his hospital bed. 

But this went against NHS advice urging those with coronavirus to get plenty of rest and sleep. 

Exhaustion is a common symptom of coronavirus. Previous studies have shown that a lack of sleep and high stress can suppress the immune system.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus journey: Just FOUR WEEKS on from shaking hands with everyone in sight, the Prime Minister finds himself in isolation receiving oxygen treatment while struggling to shake off illness

By David Wilcock, Whitehall correspondent, and James Tapsfield, political editor for MailOnline

A month ago, Boris Johnson appeared to be on a mission to shake hands.

He locked paws with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield as he appeared on This Morning to discuss the latest steps to battle the then burgeoning outbreak, without alarming people.

He later manfully greeted Welsh Tory Lord Davies at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Llangollen.

Fast-forward to today and the Prime Minister is isolated in a London hospital after struggling to shake off his own brush with the killer pandemic. 

Taking to Twitter, the 55-year-old insisted he was undergoing ‘routine tests’ and was ‘still in touch with my team’ as the government battles the deadly UK outbreak. 

No10 has insisted it was not an emergency admission and the premier remains in control of the government’s response, despite staying in hospital with no clear timeframe for being discharged. 

This evening No10 announced that the Prime Minister had been admitted to intensive care.  

There are warnings from ministers that Mr Johnson has ‘risked his health’ by keeping up a frantic workrate, while one senior Tory said he must learn he is ‘not indispensable’ and has to rest.  

But it marks a fast turnaround in the PM’s personal situation and sets out how his initial softly-softly, common-sense approach to the pandemic, mainly focused on washing hands, has quickly turned into the most severe peacetime lockdown of Britain.

Here is how the Last month has played out for the prime minister and senior members of the Cabinet:

March 3: Mr Johnson dismissed the trend for coronavirus ‘elbow bumps’ – saying he is perfectly happy to keep shaking hands with people. The PM joked that he was still carrying out the traditional greeting ‘continuously’, citing scientific advice that it is fine as long as you keep washing your hands. 

March 5:  He shook hands with Mr Schofield and Mrs Willoughby as he appeared on This Morning to reassure Britons that he would ‘keep the country fed’ during the coronavirus outbreak in a bid to stop panic-buyers from raiding supermarket shelves and stockpiling food. He later hosts a reception for International Women’s Day in Downing Street with MP Nadine Dorries – who would become the first minister to contract Covid-19.

March 6: He meets scientists as he visits testing laboratory at Bedford Technology Park. Later he is pictured shaking hands with Byron Davies as he arrives at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in the Llangollen Pavilion 

He shook hands with Mr Schofield and Mrs Willoughby as he appeared on This Morning on March 5

Mr Johnson shaking hands with Byron Davies as he arrives at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference on March 6

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds speak with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day on March 9

March 8: Surveys flood defences in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley

March 9: He attempts to shake hands with a bishop at Westminster Abbey before stopping himself while at Commonwealth Service

But he later shakes hands with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

March 10: Says people should avoid shaking hands, to shame other people into washing their hands

Health minister Nadine Dorries became the first MP to test positive for coronavirus, shortly after attending a Downing Street reception.

March 12: Mr Johnson says preventing mass gatherings is not an effective way to tackle coronavirus

March 16: He advises against mass gatherings in policy U-turn – effectively cancelling all sport and other events

March 17: Talks about importance of social distancing at briefing with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance

Boris Johnson with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance at Downing Street on March 17

March 18: Speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons and says all schools will be closed

March 19: Says UK can ‘turn the tide’ in fight against coronavirus within 12 weeks at briefing with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance

March 20: Closes pubs, restaurants and theatres at press conference with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries

March 21: Daily coronavirus update in the Cabinet Room

March 22: Media briefing with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries

March 23: Orders a UK-wide lockdown with people told to stay at home in a special televised address

March 24: Hosts weekly Cabinet Room meeting remotely 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily coronavirus update in the Cabinet Room on Saturday

Boris Johnson addresses the nation from Downing Street and imposes a lockdown on Monday

Boris Johnson chairs a weekly Cabinet meeting remotely from the Cabinet Rroom on Tuesday

Boris Johnson speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday

Boris Johnson joins in with a national applause for the NHS outside Downing Street last night

March 25: Speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons

March 25: Speaks to Queen Elizabeth II by telephone

March 26: Holds a video call to other G20 leaders and later joins in with a national applause for NHS staff.

March 27: Takes part in NHS clap for carers outside Downing Street with Chancellor Rishi Sunak

March 27: Announces in a video that he has tested positive for coronavirus

March 29: Issues video on social media thanking NHS, pharmacy and supermarket workers

March 31: Chairs digital Cabinet meeting

April 1: Says in social media video that testing will be ‘massively ramped up’

April 2: Takes part in NHS clap for carers from Downing Street doorstep

April 3: Issues video on social media urging people to stay at home during sunny weather, and also reveals he is continuing to self-isolate as he is still suffering a temperature.

April 4: Carrie Symonds, the PM’s pregnant fiancée reveals she has been self-isolating at her Camberwell flat. 

April 5: Mr Johnson is admitted to an NHS hospital in London for tests

April 6: Mr Johnson is moved to intensive care after his condition worsened. 

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