LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is released from a London hospital where he was treated in intensive care for the coronavirus, the United Kingdom having become Sunday the fourth European country to exceed 10,000 deaths linked to the virus .
Johnson’s office said he had left St. Thomas Hospital and would continue his recovery at Checkers, the Prime Minister’s country house.
“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not immediately return to work,” said the statement. “He would like to thank everyone in St. Thomas for the brilliant care he received.”
Johnson had been in hospital for a week and had spent three nights in the intensive care unit. Earlier today, he said he owed his life to the National Health Service medical staff who treated him.
“I can’t thank them enough,” said Johnson in his first public statement since his withdrawal from intensive care on Thursday evening. “I owe them my life.”
Johnson, 55, was the first confirmed world leader to have the disease. His coronavirus symptoms were initially mild, including cough and fever, and he worked at home for the first few days.
But he was admitted to St. Thomas on April 5 after his health deteriorated and was transferred the following day to his intensive care unit, where he received oxygen but was not put on under fan. He spent three nights there before returning to a regular hospital.
Johnson’s pregnant partner Carrie Symonds said in a series of tweets that she “cannot thank our beautiful NHS enough” and that she “will never, never be able to reimburse you and I will never stop paying you thank”. She admitted that there were “moments last week that were really very dark. My heart goes out to all those who are in similar situations, worried and sick of their loved ones. “
While Johnson is recovering, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is managing the country’s response to the pandemic that has infected at least 1.79 million people worldwide and killed 110,000 people. Experts say these figures seriously underestimate the impact of the pandemic, due to limited testing and different ways of counting the dead.
Britain has been in effective lockout since March 23 and the government will extend the restrictions later this week.
But Johnson’s conservative government has been criticized for its slow response to the pandemic – allowing tens of thousands to gather at the Cheltenham horse racing festival in mid-March, for example. He has also been criticized for his slowness in deploying a coronavirus testing program.
Over the past few days, the British government has come under fire for the lack of personal protective equipment for frontline workers in hospitals, while some nurses have had to cut up garbage bags to cover themselves. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday that 19 front-line workers have died from the virus.
The Royal College of Nursing has exerted increased pressure on the government, urging its members to refuse to treat patients as a “last resort” if adequate protections are not provided.
Business secretary Alok Sharma stopped apologizing for the lack of medical masks and gowns on Sunday, but said it was “absolutely correct that no healthcare professional should be placed in a position where he should make that choice. “
“That’s why we make sure we get the equipment to the front line,” he told Sky News.
Later Sunday, the numbers are expected to show that more than 10,000 people in the UK have died after being tested positive for the coronavirus. This would make Britain the fourth European country after Italy, Spain and France to reach this dark stage.
The NHS said Sunday that 657 more people in England hospitalized with the new coronavirus have died, which even without the other nations of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – brings the total for the United Kingdom more than 10,000 dead. A figure for the whole of the UK will be released later Sunday.
While the number of new cases and hospitalizations in Britain appears to have plateaued, deaths continue to increase. With the number of virus deaths in Italy and Spain declining, there is growing concern that the United Kingdom will become the country with the most virus deaths in Europe. The continent has more than 74,000 reported coronavirus deaths.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and scientific advisor to the British government, said that the UK was probably “one of the worst, if not the most affected country in Europe”.
He told the BBC that Britain had “lessons to learn” from Germany, where much more widespread early testing and aggressive contact tracing were accompanied by far fewer deaths from coronavirus.
Last week, the British government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, warned that the daily number of deaths would likely increase for another few weeks.
Sharma refused to know if the UK would end up with the highest number of deaths in Europe.
“We are on different paths,” he told the BBC. “(But) we are starting to see these (social distancing) measures work.”
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