British prime minister Boris Johnson remains in the hospital with persistent coronavirus symptoms as of Monday morning, after being admitted Sunday as a “precautionary step” after testing positive for the virus some ten days ago.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said on Monday that the admission “wasn’t an emergency,” but had been “planned” for Johnson “to have some routine tests.” He added that the prime minister “remains in charge” of the British government from the hospital, where he was taken Sunday night.
“I know for him personally it will be very frustrating that he’s had to go to the hospital to have these tests, and he’ll want to be back in Number 10 (Downing Street ) leading from the front, which is his way,” Jenrick told the BBC’s Today program on Monday morning.
Jenrick’s comments come after a statement from Downing Street, which said that Johnson was admitted “on the advice of his doctor” as “a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.”
Johnson announced on March 27 that he had contracted the virus. “But be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus,” the prime minister said. The positive test came after Johnson had imposed an almost-complete lockdown throughout the United Kingdom for three weeks, following criticism that the government’s response had been slow.
London has been the center of the outbreak in the U.K., with several other members of Johnson’s government also testing positive for the virus, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, also tested positive for coronavirus — becoming the first member of the British royal family to contract the disease.
News of Johnson’s hospitalization came an hour after Queen Elizabeth II made a rare televised address to the nation, in which she urged her fellow Britons to remain “united and resolute” in the fight against the virus.
“We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us,” the 93-year-old monarch said, comparing the situation to the struggle of World War II.