Boris Johnson spends third night in intensive care

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on his way to Buckingham Palace after the general election in London, Britain, December 13, 2019.

Thomas Mukoya | Reuters

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care in a London hospital having been admitted for persistent coronavirus symptoms, although his condition is said to be improving.

Culture Minister Oliver Dowden is the latest U.K. lawmaker to comment on Johnson’s condition, telling the BBC Thursday morning that the prime minister is “stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff,” adding, “I think things are getting better for him.”

Johnson is receiving “excellent care” at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London where he is being treated, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said at the government’s daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon. 

Johnson’s battle in hospital comes as the U.K. reported on Wednesday its largest daily rise in deaths so far — 938 fatalities — raising the overall death toll to 7,097 people.

The government’s emergency committee are convening Thursday to discuss lockdown measures and to review scientific data around the spread of the coronavirus in the U.K. since restrictions on public life were introduced in late March.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is currently deputizing for Johnson and will chair the meeting.

Almost all businesses remain closed, except for those deemed essential, and the public have been told to stay at home unless they need to buy food, fetch medicine or exercise once a day.

Johnson, 55, was moved to the intensive care unit at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital on Monday evening after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

He announced on March 27 that he had tested positive for COVID-19, but wasn’t admitted to hospital until Sunday for “tests” due to persistent symptoms of the virus, including a cough and a fever. Johnson has received “standard oxygen treatment” in hospital and has not required ventilation, his spokesman said.

Sunak said Wednesday that Johnson’s infection showed COVID-19 was an “indiscriminate” disease that is impacting people across the U.K. He offered support for the prime minister, who he called his “friend,” and said “my thoughts are with him and his family.”

Johnson was the first world leader to contract the coronavirus and his admission to intensive care has shocked many. On Tuesday, he was sent best wishes from leaders in Europe, and President Donald Trump, who called him a “very good friend.”

— CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed reporting to this story.

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