Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened, Downing Street has confirmed.
The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital on Sunday after his condition got worse.
The move was initially described as a precaution but his symptoms worsened this afternoon.
According to reports he remains conscious and is not on a ventilator.
“Deputise where necessary”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will “deputise where necessary” while the prime minister is in intensive care with Covid-19.
A Number 10 spokesperson said:
“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.
“The prime minister has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.
“The prime minister is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”
Earlier Downing Street, which had previously described his symptoms as “mild”, switched to describing them as “persistent”.
They included a cough as well as a continuing high temperature, 10 days after he first tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman had previously maintained that Mr Johnson had been taken to hospital on the advice of his doctor and as a “precaution”, and that it was not an emergency admission.
But his condition worsened this afternoon.
In other developments:
Meanwhile, the latest official figures showed 5,373 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Sunday – and increase of 439 on the previous day.
– MPs have called for social media companies to be held to account for the spread of conspiracy theories online linking 5G technology to the coronavirus outbreak;
– The Local Government Association warned councils will be forced to shut parks if people keep breaking social distancing rules;
– The Foreign Office has announced further flights to repatriate British nationals stranded in India, Nepal, the Philippines and South Africa;
– A detachment of 40 soldiers from the Scots Guards is helping expand St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight to provide an additional 200 beds for Covid-19 patients.
Mr Raab also rejected calls for ministers to set out an exit strategy from the lockdown amid mounting concern at the economic devastation that is being wrought.
New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the Government over the weekend to spell out how it intended to lift the restrictions as the outbreak receded.
However, Mr Raab warned it was essential not to distract from the need to maintain social distancing as the epidemic approached its peak.
“The risk is if we start taking our eye off the ball, of tackling the coronavirus, stopping the spread and getting through the peak, we risk delaying the point at which we could in the future take those decisions on easing restrictions,” he said.
Professor Chris Whitty
His comments were echoed by the chief medical officer for England – Professor Chris Whitty making his first public appearance since ending his self-isolation – who said it would be a “mistake” to discuss exit strategies until it was clear the peak had passed.
“The key thing is to get to the point where we are confident we have reached the peak and this is now beyond the peak,” he said.
“At that point, I think it is possible to have a serious discussion about all the things we need to do step-by-step to move to the next phase of managing this.”
He acknowledged, however, that in deciding when to ease the restrictions, the economic damage caused by the lockdown would be a factor.
“Anything that has an impact on the socio-economic status, particularly of people who are more deprived, will have a long-term health impact as well,” he said.
“We have to, in our exit strategy, balance all of these different elements which can be in tension.”