Coronavirus: Boris Johnson ‘improving’ and ‘sitting up in bed’, says Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson remains in intensive care but is “improving” and “sitting up in bed” talking to doctors, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.

The prime minister was moved to intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Monday night – more than a week after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Speaking at Downing Street’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said the prime minister was receiving “excellent care” from his NHS team.

“The latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving,” the chancellor said.

“I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.

“The prime minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend, and my thoughts are with him and his family.”

Mr Sunak said the prime minister’s situation “reminds us how indiscriminate this disease is”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who is now deputising for Mr Johnson – chaired the daily morning meeting of the government’s coronavirus “war cabinet” for the third day in a row.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma wrote to everyone working in the UK’s retail sector to thank them for “making a hugely valuable and critical contribution to the resilience of our nation”.

He also penned a letter to all those working in manufacturing and industry to thank them “for the work you are doing to keep the UK economy going”.

But the government came under renewed pressure on Wednesday over the supply of personal protective equipment to healthcare staff, as well as its target of reaching 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of this month.

Dame Donna Kinnair, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, wrote to MPs to warn nurses’ “safety and ability to care for patients is being fundamentally compromised by the lack of adequate and correct supplies of vital personal protective equipment”.

She also called for all NHS staff suffering from suspected COVID-19 symptoms to be tested.

Sir Paul Nurse, director and chief executive of the Francis Crick Institute – which has been conducting coronavirus tests – described achieving the government’s target of 100,000 tests a day by the beginning of May as “a stretch”.

The NHS has launched a mental health hotline as part of measures to support their 1.4 million staff as they fight coronavirus.

As of 5pm on Tuesday, 7,097 people had died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus in hospitals.

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