British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, though Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.
Johnson, who was isolating in Downing Street after testing positive last month, still had a high temperature and so his doctors felt he should go to an undisclosed hospital for tests in what the government said was a “precautionary step”.
“On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” his Downing Street office said in a statement. Johnson is expected to stay overnight.
“This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus,” the statement added.
News of his hospitalisation came only after an hour after Queen Elizabeth delivered a rallying call to the British public saying they would overcome the coronavirus outbreak if they stayed resolute.
Johnson, 55, on March 27 became the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive. He went into isolation at an apartment in Downing Street and said on Friday he was staying there as he still had a high temperature.
Downing Street underscored that this was not an emergency admission and that Johnson remained in charge of the government. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair the government’s emergency COVID-19 meeting on Monday, a source said.
With only an unwieldy collection of sometimes ancient and contradictory precedents to go by, there is no simple, formally-enshrined “Plan B” or succession scenario should the prime minister become incapacitated.
The pound briefly fell 0.4% vs the U.S. dollar to $1.2215 before trimming some losses to trade at $1.2230, down 0.3%.
Queen Elizabeth had been informed of Johnson’s admission to hospital, Buckingham Palace said. It made no further comment.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Johnson was a “strong man” as he passed on his nation’s best wishes.
“All Americans are praying for him,” Trump told a news conference. “He’s a friend of mine, he’s a great gentleman and a great leader, and as you know he went to the hospital today but I’m hopeful and sure that he’s going to be fine.”