Boris Johnson leaves hospital, thanks NHS for saving his life
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday thanked the state-funded NHS medics and staff for their hard work through the coronavirus pandemic as he was discharged from hospital, saying he owed them his life after testing positive for the deadly virus over two weeks ago.
Downing Street said that Johnson left St. Thomas’ Hospital in London and will head to his prime ministerial residence of Chequers in Buckinghamshire, south east England.
On the advice of his medical team, he will not be returning to work immediately, with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to continue deputising as he recuperates.
“The PM has been discharged from hospital to continue his recovery, at Chequers,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
“He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received. All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier, in his first public statement since being moved out of the intensive care unit of the hospital, the 55-year-old UK prime minister said: “I can’t thank them enough, I owe them my life.”
Johnson, who completed a week in hospital on Sunday after being shifted there with persistent COVID-19 symptoms, had been making “very good progress” while on the hospital ward. He was able to take short walks as his doctors monitored his recovery after being moved out of intensive care and was watching films and doing puzzles in his hospital bed.
Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant with their first child, is said to have sent him letters and baby scans to lift his spirits during his time in hospital. Thousands of get-well cards have also poured in for him since he went into self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus over two weeks ago.
Asked about plans for his return to work, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Saturday that Johnson needed “time and space to rest, recuperate and recover”.
The Indian-origin Cabinet minister, who led the daily Downing Street update on the pandemic on Saturday, said that the UK has recorded 917 new coronavirus deaths, taking the total hospital deaths in the country to 9,875.
She urged people to stay at home over the Easter weekend to curb the spread of the virus, despite warm and sunny weather across parts of the UK.
“We have given the police powers to enforce the necessary measures we have put in place, including through enforcement fines,” said Patel.
“If you don’t play your part… our selfless police will be unafraid to act. You will be endangering the lives of your own family, friends and loved ones,” she said.
Meanwhile, an Easter message posted on the official 10 Downing Street Twitter account on behalf of the UK prime minister also urged people to stay at home to save lives.
It reads: “Wishing everyone a very happy Easter from Downing Street.
“This year across the country churches will remain closed, and families will spend the day apart. But by staying home, remember, you are protecting the NHS and saving lives.”