Dominic Raab says he is confident that 'fighter' Boris Johnson will beat the coronavirus
Dominic Raab is standing in for Boris Johnson.
Dominic Raab has said he is sure that Boris Johnson will beat the coronavirus because he is a "fighter".
The Foreign Secretary said the entire government's "thoughts and prayers" were with the Prime Minister - who remains in an intensive care unit - and his family.
Mr Raab spoke out on his first full day as stand-in Prime Minister after being asked by Mr Johnson to assume his duties while he is incapacitated.
He also confirmed that the PM is in a "stable" condition at St. Thomas's Hospital in London, but "remains in good spirits" and is breathing unaided.
"He’s not just the Prime Minister, for all of us in Cabinet, he’s not just our boss - he’s also a colleague and he’s also our friend," said Mr Raab.
"So all of our thoughts and prayers are with the Prime Minister at this time, with [Mr Johnson's partner] Carrie and with his whole family.
"And I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about this Prime Minister: he’s a fighter. And he’ll be back at the helm leading us through this crisis in short order."
The Foreign Secretary also dropped another heavy hint that the current lockdown, which is due to be reviewed next Monday, will remain in place as the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK continues to soar.
According to the latest figures, a total of 6,159 people have died - a record increase of 786 in the last 24 hours.
Mr Raab said: "We can reassure the public that [the PM's] team will not blink and we will not flinch from the task at hand at this crucial moment.
"We will keep all of our focus and all of our resolve with calm determination on delivering the Government’s plan to defeat the coronavirus."
Despite the mounting death toll, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there were signs of hope because the rise in the number of new cases was slowing.
He said: "There is a fairly steady increase in numbers, it's possible that we're beginning to see the beginning of change in terms of the curve flattening a little bit - we won't know that for sure for about a week or so.
"But what we're not seeing is an acceleration."
Sir Patrick also said there were encouraging signs because there had not been "an accelerated take off" in the number of hospital admissions."
He said: "Again, it's possible that we're beginning to see the start of a change where we might see numbers flattening off."
Sir Patrick said the number of deaths in the UK from the disease was broadly in line with countries such as Italy, Spain and France, but that they should start to fall in the next two to three weeks.