'None of us are superhuman': Chancellor defends protection of PM from coronavirus prior to diagnosis

The Government has defended the measures taken to stop top figures, including the Prime Minister, from getting the coronavirus as it was reported Boris Johnson’s condition in intensive care was “improving”.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 6:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 6:22 pm

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was asked at the daily briefing today whether more could have been done to protect the Prime Minister, with examples given of Winston Churchill having his own doctor and President Donald Trump his own medical team.

But Mr Sunak said the care received by Mr Johnson had been “excellent”.

He said: “I think the Prime Minister has received excellent care and advice every step of the process.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured last week before he was taken into hospital. Photo: PA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured last week before he was taken into hospital. Photo: PA

“At the end of the day, we’re all trying our absolute best, none of us are superhuman and impervious to getting sick during this process and that’s what makes this whole thing so awful for all of us.

“But as I’ve observed and seen, the advice, the care has been excellent, not just beforehand but especially now at St Thomas’.”

Mr Sunak revealed today that Mr Johnson was sitting up in his hospital bed, but that he was set to spend a third night in intensive care - his fourth night in hospital.

He said: “I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.

“The Prime Minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend, and my thoughts are with him and his family.”

Earlier in the day, Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson was not working while in intensive care and thanked the public for messages of support.

Asked if anyone has been in contact with the PM, his official spokesman said: “The PM is not working, he’s in intensive care, he has the ability to contact those that he needs to, he’s following the advice of his doctors at all times.

“We are hugely grateful for the messages of support that the Prime Minister has received.

“I think the public response to coronavirus throughout has been fantastic and that has been best exemplified by the applause they’ve been giving to NHS staff every week.”

His spokesman said: “The Prime Minister remains clinically stable and is responding to treatment.

“He continues to be cared for in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’s Hospital. He’s in good spirits.”

The PM continues to receive “standard oxygen treatment” and is “breathing without any other assistance”, he said.

When asked about specifics of the PM’s condition and treatment, the spokesman said: “The information in the update we have provided was given to us by St Thomas’ Hospital and it contains all the information that the PM’s medical team consider to be clinically relevant.”