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UK PM Boris Johnson Released From Intensive Care For Coronavirus, Remains In Hospital

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a COVID-19 press briefing at Downing Street on March 22 in London, England. He tested positive for the virus five days later. (Photo by Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a COVID-19 press briefing at Downing Street on March 22 in London, England. He tested positive for the virus five days later. (Photo by Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was released from intensive care treatment for coronavirus on Thursday night, and he remains in the hospital. 

The PM will be closely monitored and is in "extremely good spirits," his office said in a statement. 

Johnson was admitted to the ICU on April 6, one day after being hospitalized because of “persistent symptoms” from COVID-19. He tested positive for the virus on March 27. An initial post on his Twitter account April 6 said he’s “in good spirits," but hours later, the government put out an update saying his "condition has worsened."

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Johnson’s “designated survivor,” is acting as a deputy leader while Johnson is in the hospital. 

Johnson was admitted to a hospital in London Sunday evening “on the advice of his doctor after continuing to exhibit a high temperature,” which is a common symptom of COVID-19. According to the Times of London, the prime minister was treated with oxygen upon arrival, also a common treatment for the respiratory illness caused by the virus. A spokesman did not confirm or deny that report, but did say claims made by Russian state media that Johnson is on a ventilator are “disinformation.”

The hospitalization of the prime minister — a first among world leaders during the pandemic so far — came just as Queen Elizabeth II was making a special address to the UK. 

“For just the fifth time in her record 68-year reign, the queen broadcast a single-subject address to the nation and beyond,” wrote royal blogger and editor Autumn Brewington for The Washington Post. Brewington described the queen’s speech as a “brief but stirring tutorial in leadership,” projecting “the wisdom of experience” and speaking as “head of state, head of the Commonwealth and grandmother in chief.”

Prince Charles, the 71-year-old son and successor of the 94-year-old queen, also tested positive for coronavirus in March and self-isolated for 14 days. He is reportedly feeling better and reunited with his wife, Duchess Camilla Parker Bowles, after the self-quarantine period.

The UK government has been criticized for a slow response to the coronavirus crisis. Britain instituted lockdowns and stay at home guidelines later than many Western countries and has one of the highest death rates in Europe from the virus. As of Monday afternoon, there were more than 51,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 5,000 deaths.