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Boris Johnson in intensive care unit as coronavirus symptoms worsen

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken to intensive care unit at a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

His condition “worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at St Thomas’ Hospital around 7 p.m. Monday,” Downing Street said. His office said he was still conscious, although he received oxygen.

Johnson was admitted to the hospital in central London late on Sunday after suffering persistent symptoms, including a high temperature.

Downing Street said the move to intensive care was “a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery”.

The 55-year-old prime minister, who is not known to have any underlying health issues, had spent 10 days of self-isolation since March 26 after he had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), suffering mild symptoms including a cough and fever.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has now been appointed to take over Johnson’s duties “where necessary”, Downing Street said.

“The government’s business will continue,” Raab said, adding Johnson was “in safe hands” at St Thomas’ Hospital, opposite parliament in central London.

“The focus of government will continue to be on making sure that the prime minister’s… plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus… will be taken forward,” he added.

News of Johnson’s move to intensive care comes as the United Kingdom enters what officials say is likely to be one of the most deadly weeks of the outbreak, which has infected more than 50,000 people and killed 5,373 in the country.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has also been infected with the coronavirus, said the deadliest peak for deaths was projected to be Easter Sunday, April 12.

The British government was criticized for initially refusing to ask people to stay home as the coronavirus spread.

Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people. But two weeks ago, he ordered a nationwide lockdown, which will be reviewed early next week.

US President Donald Trump responded to the news of the British prime minister’s worsening health during a daily press conference, and said that his administration had been in contact with Johnson’s doctors.

French President Emmanuel Macron, among others, also sent his wishes. “I send all my support to Boris Johnson, to his family and to the British people at this difficult moment. I wish him a speedy recovery at this testing time.”

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