(AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition has improved and he has been moved out of intensive care where he was treated for three days with COVID-19, his office said Thursday.
In a statement, a spokesman at 10, Downing Street said Johnson “has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery.”
Johnson had been in intensive care at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, near his residence, for three days after his symptoms worsened. He tested positive for the new coronavirus two weeks ago and at first had only “mild” symptoms.
His condition appeared to be improving over the past day or so. Earlier Thursday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been deputizing for the prime minister during key meetings, said Johnson was “making positive steps forward.”
Raab told Britons earlier it was too early to ease restrictions on public activity imposed March 23 to try to slow the spread of the virus.
The original restrictions were for three weeks, a period that ends Monday. But after chairing a meeting of the government’s crisis committee, COBRA, Raab said no decision on lifting the government’s stay-home order and business closures would be made “until evidence clearly shows that we’ve moved beyond the peak” of the outbreak.
Raab said “we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made, but the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus.”
He said the government and its scientific experts would assess the evidence again next week.
“We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and to hurt our country,” Raab said at the government’s daily news conference.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and in some cases death.
Almost 8,000 people with the coronavirus have died in British hospitals, according to government figures. While the number of new confirmed cases has begun to plateau, deaths have neared the peaks seen in Italy and Spain, the two countries with the greatest number of fatalities.
On Thursday, the U.K. reported 881 new deaths, down from the 938 recorded the day before. Italy recorded a high of 969 deaths on March 27 and Spain 950 deaths on April 2.
The figures may not be directly comparable, however. Not all the U.K. deaths reported each day occurred in the preceding 24 hours, and the total only includes deaths in hospitals.
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