Britain’s PM admitted to hospital for tests
LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms ten days after testing positive for the virus, though Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.
Johnson, who was isolating in Downing Street after testing positive last month, still had a high temperature and so his doctors felt he should go to hospital for tests in what the government said was a “precautionary step”.
“On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” his Downing Street office said in a statement. Johnson is expected to stay overnight.
“This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus,” the statement added.
News of his hospitalisation came only an hour after Queen Elizabeth delivered a rallying call to the British public saying they would overcome the coronavirus outbreak if they stayed resolute.
Johnson, 55, on March 27 became the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive. He went into isolation at an apartment in Downing Street and said on Friday he was staying there as he still had a high temperature.
Downing Street underscored that this was not an emergency admission and that Johnson remains in charge of the government. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair the government’s emergency COVID-19 meeting on Monday, a source said.
With only an unwieldy collection of sometimes ancient and contradictory precedents to go by, there is no simple, formally-enshrined “Plan B” or succession scenario if the prime minister is incapacitated.
The pound briefly fell 0.4 per cent vs the United States dollar to $1.2215 before trimming some losses to trade at $1.2230, down 0.3 per cent.
Queen Elizabeth has been informed of Johnson’s admission to hospital, Buckingham Palace said. It made no further comment.
“Wishing the prime minister well and a speedy recovery,” Keir Starmer, the newly elected leader of the opposition Labour Party, said.