Boris Johnson is a ‘fighter’ and will be back soon, says Dominic Raab in No10 press conference


BORIS Johnson is a “fighter” and will pull through his spell in intensive care, Dominic Raab said this evening.

The PM’s stand-in said this evening that the PM was still “stable” and in “good spirits” in hospital, and the whole country sent him their best wishes.

Dominic Raab sent his best wishes to his ill boss and friend, Boris Johnson

Coronavirus-stricken Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care after his symptoms worsened

The PM was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital, the closest to Parliament and Downing Street, on Sunday

The Prime Minister has had more oxygen support but has NOT needed a ventilator or any more help breathing, it was revealed this lunchtime.

The PM was rushed into intensive care last night after his condition deteriorated.

But he has not got any worse in the last 12 hours and is able to breathe unassisted. He does not have pneumonia.

In a joint statement from Downing Street and St Thomas’ hospital, they said: “The PM has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits.

“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance.

“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”

The Queen has sent a message to Boris Johnson’s family and his pregnant partner Carrie Symonds, saying they were in her thoughts and that she wished the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery.

But there will be no weekly audience on the phone between Boris and the Queen – or Dominic Raab – while the PM is sick.

Boris was transferred last night after he started finding it difficult to breathe.

Doctors have prepared a ventilation unit to be ready by his bedside should his condition worsen – and No10 has stressed there is more than enough capacity.

It is not known whether the PM is well enough to be taking phone-calls, but has not spoken to Mr Raab, his defacto deputy, who will lead tonight’s press conference.

Another update on the PM’s health is expected later today.

The PM needed four litres of oxygen, sources at the hospital told The Times.

The normal threshold for intensive care is 15 litres, suggesting that he was in better health than other patients may be.

However, as recently as December 2018 the PM admitted he weighed 16 and a half stone, which would put him into an obese category.

It’s believed he’s lost a significant chunk of weight since then.

Ex-PM David Cameron told the BBC this lunchtime: “He’s got a tremendous zest for life, for getting things done, and for leading and for taking decisions.

“I know he’ll want to get well and get back in charge again.”

Michael Gove said it was a “huge shock” that Boris’ condition had got worse, and everyone was “rooting for him”.

He told Good Morning Britain:  “We are hoping and praying he pulls through.

“It was a shock yesterday to hear the news of his going into intensive care.

“All of us just want him to pull through.

“He is a big hearted, generous spirited guy, we are rooting for him.”

He insisted that the PM had wanted to keep going and working throughout his illness because “he loves this country”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The PM loves this country, he wants to do his very, very best for us.

“That is one of the reasons why he has been sure he has been involved in all the decision making and all the meetings.”

But he stressed he has stripped back his diary in recent days and been taking all the medical advice he was given.

Any decisions that need to be taken will be done collectively in a group, he added, and the lockdown would be reviewed by the team “in good time” – with or without the PM.

“As the PM’s case so powerfully reminds us, this disease can hit any of us,” he said.

Dominic Raab appeared to cough this morning as he left for his first meeting in charge
Professor Chris Whitty at No10 today

Before the PM was transferred last night he officially passed on responsibilities to his de facto deputy, Dominic Raab.

Foreign Secretary Mr Raab, who is also the First Secretary of State, will now run the Government and take charge of the fight against the virus.

Boris’ condition worsened over the course of Monday, and doctors made the decision to transfer him to intensive care around 7pm.

TV’s Dr Hilary has said he is likely to be “very unwell for two to three weeks”.

He told Good Morning Britain earlier: “The GPs and medical colleagues I know who have recovered from Covid-19 and have nursed themselves from home say that this is a life-changing experience for them.”

The news comes 11 days after Boris was diagnosed with the virus.

He had been continuing to work while isolating in his Downing St flat, but struggled to shake off his fever.

This morning Boris’ former director of communications and friend, Will Walden, stressed the PM was a “really, really strong guy” and “far fitter than he looks”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He will whip anybody’s backside on a tennis court, he runs regularly, he doesn’t smoke, he drinks moderately.

“So I think if anyone is in a good position both physically and mentally to fight off the disease then the Prime Minister is that person.”

Mr Walden said he had been in touch with Mr Johnson a couple of times in the last fortnight, adding: “I had a brief exchange with him last week in which I was more concerned about him being in isolation and what he said back to me was ‘don’t worry, we’re going to beat it’.

“What he meant by that, which is typical of Boris, is we as a country will come together and beat this disease, rather than thinking about himself in regard to that – and that’s pretty typical of the man.”

He added: “He is someone who always , always, always wants to be doing his best, making a difference for the better.

“We all hope that he can be restored to health as quickly as possible.”

He stressed that Boris “is full of life and fit, he is a keen tennis player and runner.
“He is a man of great zest and appetite for life.”

Buckingham Palace says the Queen is being “kept informed” by No10 on the Prime Minister’s condition.

US president Donald Trump led messages of support, saying: “I want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine – and a friend of our nation. Americans are all praying for his recovery.”

And politicians from across the spectrum and around the world wished the PM the best.

The hashtag #PrayForBoris immediately began trending on Twitter as tens of thousands of Brits urged the PM to pull through.

Partner Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, has also suffered symptoms, and has been isolating separately from the PM.

She said on Saturday she was “on the mend” after seven days of rest.

It’s not clear when she last saw the PM.

Boris had carried on working in No11 Downing Street for over a week despite being ill, dialling into conference calls and coordinating the daily Covid 19 meeting of ministers.

No10 aides had insisted earlier that his hospital stay was just as a precaution, where he would have routine tests.

They said he had been asked to stay in as a precaution for the meantime, but he would stay there as long as was needed.

No10 insisted his doctors had told him to go to hospital for additional checks and care because his symptoms of a cough and temperature had not gone away.

They even said he was continuing to work from hospital and was getting his red box delivered – prompting calls from MPs for him to step aside and focus on getting better.

Foreign Office minister James Duddridge called on Mr Johnson to “rest, look after yourself and let the others do the heavy lift”.

And Lord Kerslake, former head of the civil service, added: “I think in the end if he’s not well, he will have to reflect on this because the job’s tough at the best of times and it’s doubly tough now.”

Though unwell, the PM was still able to work on his red boxes as late as 12pm on Monday.

As late as 5pm, Mr Raab had insisted the PM was still very much in charge and leading the Government through the crisis.
But he then admitted he hadn’t actually spoken to him since Saturday – before he went into hospital.

A crisis call of senior ministers and key No10 aides was then convened to work through an emergency plan for Mr Raab to take over.

Officials said that while the Foreign Secretary has executive authority on all operational decision making, his powers stop short of being able to appoint a new Cabinet.

Fiancee Carrie Symonds, 32, has also had symptoms of the deadly bug too but is on the mend

It is not known whether the PM has any underlying problems that could affect his health.

Early research of patients with the virus in other countries suggested a 45 per cent fatality rate for patients in his age group – but many of them had other health conditions and the sample size was small.

Data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre showed that men were affected more than women – and those with weight problems were known to be at an even higher risk.

Prof Derek Hill, Professor of Medical Imaging at University College London (UCL), said that the PM would likely have had trouble breathing, which prompted him to go into hospital.

He said: “It seems he was initially put on oxygen, and was conscious.

“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.”

Professor Linda Bauld of the University of Edinburgh, said the news showed just how indiscriminate the virus was.

“Anyone anywhere, including the most privileged in our society, can be affected and can become seriously ill.

“It is imperative now, more than ever that the rest of us comply with government guidelines to stay at home and not put others at risk.

“Questions will be asked in future about whether the UK government acted appropriately in keeping parliament open and face to face meetings going while the rest of the country was already following advice to shut down.

“For now, however, all our thoughts will be with the Prime Minister and his family, and the many other families who are facing similar circumstances with critically ill relatives.”