News World PM Johnson "improving" as UK ponders COVID-19 lockdown

PM Johnson “improving” as UK ponders COVID-19 lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care with COVID-19 complications but is improving and able to sit up as his government prepares to discuss how to review its most stringent shut down in the peacetime history.

Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital on Sunday evening with a persistent high temperature and cough and was rushed to intensive care on Monday. He has received oxygen support but has not been put on a ventilator.

“He has been sitting up in bed and been engaging positively with the clinical team,” his finance minister, Rishi Sunak, said on Wednesday. “His condition is improving.”

U.S. President Donald Trump said Johnson appeared to be improving after what he described as a “tough bout”.

“I just spoke with the representatives of the UK and I think that their great prime minister is doing much better today, or at least better,” Trump told reporters.

While Johnson is out of action, the country is entering what scientists say is the deadliest phase of the outbreak and the government is pondering the question of if and when to lift lockdown measures that have shut down much of the economy.

The government’s emergency response meeting, known as COBR, will on Thursday discuss how it should deal with a review on lockdown measures. Johnson’s designated deputy, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, will chair the meeting.

Total UK hospital deaths from COVID-19 rose by a daily record of 938 to 7,097 as of 1600 GMT on April 7, health officials said on Wednesday.

As the world’s fifth largest economy faces the worst economic hit since World War Two and the state has had to rapidly ramp up state spending, the government said it had expanded its overdraft with the Bank of England.

“Any drawings will be repaid as soon as possible before the end of the year,” the finance ministry and Bank of England said.

(Reuters)

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