Udayavni Special

Boris Johnson improving and sitting up in bed: Rishi Sunak

PTI, Apr 9, 2020, 7:59 AM IST

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains in the intensive care unit at a London hospital with coronavirus infection, is improving and sitting up in bed, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday, April 8.

Leading the daily Downing Street briefing, the Indian-origin finance minister gave an update on the prime minister’s health, stressing that Johnson was receiving excellent care at the National Health Service (NHS) St. Thomas’ Hospital in London and was doing well.

“The latest from the hospital is that the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving,” Sunak 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,” he said, adding that his illness is a reminder how indiscriminate this disease is.

The senior Cabinet minister, who is next in line after UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputise for Johnson should the need arise during the outbreak, gave the latest figures on the impact of COVID-19 in the UK – which registered another major rise in daily death toll of 938 fatalities to hit 7,097 on Wednesday.

He reiterated the government’s advice for the public to continue to follow strict social distancing instructions and admitted that there were some tough times ahead for the economy.

“I can’t stand here and say I will save every single job and every single business. In spite of what are unprecedented measures in scale and scope, I can’t stand here and say I can save every single job, protect every single business or indeed every single charity. That’s just simply not possible,” he said.

The briefing centered around an announcement of a 750-million pounds fund to support the UK’s charities to help them survive through the pandemic as Sunak thanked the sector for holding together our social fabric.

He said that the latest funding is part of the government’s wider economic strategy to support businesses and communities through the crisis, based on the principle that “we all depend on each other”.

The simplest acts have the potential to change lives. We need the gentleness of charities in our lives, he said.

The minister indicated that a special Cobra committee meeting will be chaired by Dominic Raab on Thursday when the Cabinet will consider all the latest scientific data on the UK’s impact of the lockdown measures, after which any discussion around lifting the restrictions can be considered next week.

The government has urged the British public to continue to follow strict social distancing rules before a decision to review the measures can be taken.

Johnson was due to take a call on lifting the severe social distancing conditions next Monday, at the end of the initial 21-day semi-lockdown announced by him in a televised address on March 23.

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