British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the hospital. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 ten days ago. The PM was being treated at home, but his condition steadily worsened.
A spokesman for Johnson clarified that, although he spent the night in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ hospital in London, he is not on a ventilator. Johnson is reportedly receiving a “standard oxygen treatment” and does not have pneumonia.
Johnson is reportedly stable. “The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication,” the statement from No. 10 Downing Street, the UK equivalent of the White House, assured the public.
Ironically, the prime minister was being rushed to the hospital just as the Queen was addressing the Commonwealth. She recorded a pre-taped speech from Windsor Castle. She essentially urged everyone to keep calm and carry on, promising that there were brighter days ahead.
While the Queen’s speech was intended to reassure the public, Johnson’s hospitalization adds a great deal of uncertainty to an already stressful situation.
Unlike America, there is no “vice prime minister.” Instead, the next in line to take over for Johnson is Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. If Johnson cannot govern–if, for example, he is placed on a ventilator or in a medically induced coma–then Raab could be deputized to step in.
Johnson and Raab both belong to the conservative Tory party and are enthusiastic supporters of Brexit. However, the UK has gotten something of a reprieve from Brexit negotiations while Europe struggles with spiking coronavirus infections.
Johnson (55) is currently expecting a child with his fiancée, Carrie Symonds (32). However, she can’t visit him in the hospital.
Symonds has been battling a more mild case of the virus herself. She tweeted on Sunday, “I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.”
After falling ill, Symonds left the flat she shares with Johnson and self-isolated elsewhere in London with the couple’s dog and her mother.
We hope that Johnson and Symonds will be able to reunite soon, and that he has a swift recovery from coronavirus. Although he is not the most popular PM in Britain’s history, a leaderless nation could be even worse.