British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs at the House of Commons on 25 March, 2020 in London, England.
Wiktor Szymanowicz | NurPhoto | Getty Images
World leaders have rallied around U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sending him their best wishes and wishing him a speedy recovery after his admission to an intensive care unit Monday evening as his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
President Donald Trump sent his best wishes to the prime minister Monday and told a press briefing that: “All Americans are praying for him, he’s a friend of mine, he’s a great gentleman and a great leader.”
Johnson received support from closer to home too, with various European leaders wishing him a speedy recovery.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Monday: “I send all my support to Boris Johnson, to his family and to the British people at this difficult moment. I wish him a speedy recovery at this testing time.”
Meanwhile, Germany’s government spokesman tweeted a photo of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson together, and expressed her wish for Johnson to have a speedy recovery.
Spanish President Pedro Sanchez also tweeted his best wishes and expressed solidarity with the prime minister, saying: “These are difficult days for our countries, but from strength and unity we will manage to win this battle. A hug to all the British people.”
The prime minister tested positive for the coronavirus on March 27 and was said to be suffering from “mild symptoms.” But Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital in London Sunday evening for “tests” due to his “persistent symptoms.”
A statement from Downing Street said that over the course of Monday 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 BBC reported that Johnson had received oxygen Monday afternoon was moved to ICU in order to be nearer to a ventilator, if necessary. The virus attacks the respiratory system and can cause pneumonia. For the sickest, ventilation (which carries risks itself) is required to take over the breathing process and to allow the immune system to concentrate on fighting the virus.
Johnson’s team said Monday that the prime minister was still conscious and not yet on ventilation, however. Johnson himself had tweeted Monday afternoon that he was in “good spirits.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will deputize for the prime minister, the government said, “where necessary.”
The messages of support from fellow leaders come as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread worldwide. The U.S., which has recorded the highest number of infections, has reported over 368,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 10,989 deaths.
Spain and Italy are the worst affected countries in Europe with over 130,000 confirmed cases each. The U.K. has 52,279 confirmed cases and 5,385 deaths.
The pandemic has eclipsed geopolitical feuds with old enmities laid aside as countries muster all their resources to fight the virus. The U.K. was meant to be negotiating a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU but that seems to have been sidelined as governments concentrate on the virus.
The European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted her support for the prime minister, as did the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, who has himself recovered after contracting the coronavirus.