Dominic Raab says ‘strong team spirit’ behind Boris Johnson after PM admitted to intensive care with coronavirus
Dominic Raab will step in for the PM as necessary, Number 10 said.
Dominic Raab has said there is an “incredibly strong team spirit” behind Boris Johnson after the Prime Minister was moved to an intensive care unit with worsening coronavirus symptoms.
The Foreign Secretary, who Number 10 has said will “deputise where necessary” in Mr Johnson’s absence, told reporters that the PM was in “safe hands” as he insisted government business would continue.
The comments came as Britain’s political leaders rallied around Mr Johnson, who was first diagnosed with Covid-19 11 days ago and had been due to return from self-isolation last Friday.
A Number 10 spokesman said: "Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.
"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 PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.
"The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication."
Downing Street sources said Mr Johnson - whose fiancée is currently expecting the pair’s first child - had been moved to intensive care at around 7pm as a precaution in case he requires ventilation.
But they said the Prime Minister remained conscious.
Speaking to the media after the update on Mr Johnson's condition, Mr Raab said: “There is an incredibly strong team spirit behind the Prime Minister and making sure that we get all of the plans that the Prime Minister has instructed us to deliver [...] implemented as soon as possible."
He added: “The Prime Minister is in safe hands [...] and the focus of the Government will continue to be on making sure that the Prime Minister’s direction, all the plans for making sure that we can defeat coronavirus and can pull the country through this challenge, will be taken forward."
Mr Raab - who earlier revealed he had not spoken to the Prime Minister since Saturday - confirmed he had been asked to deputise “where necessary in driving forward the Government’s plans to defeat coronavirus”.
'EVERY GOOD WISH'
The comments came as figures from across the political divide expressed their hopes for the PM's recovery.
Responding to the “terribly sad” news, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “All the country’s thoughts are with the Prime Minister and his family during this incredibly difficult time.”
That view was echoed by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the PM and his family - sending him every good wish.”
And Liberal Democrat acting leader Sir Ed Davey tweeted: “Thoughts are with Boris Johnson and his family at this latest news - best wishes for an early full recovery. Thanks to all NHS & social care staff looking after anyone who is ill tonight.”
Mr Johnson also received messages of support from his two immediate predecessors as Conservative prime minister, Theresa May and David Cameron
Ms May said: “My thoughts and prayers are with Boris Johnson and his family as he continues to receive treatment in hospital.”
The Maidenhead MP added: “This horrific virus does not discriminate. Anyone can get it. Anyone can spread it.“
Mr Cameron, who quit in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum in which Mr Johnson played a leading part, meanwhile said he was “thinking of Boris Johnson and his family tonight”.
And he said: “Get well soon. You are in great hands and we all want you safe, well and back in 10 Downing Street.”
In his own statement, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “This is terrible news. I know the thoughts and prayers of everyone across the House are with the Prime Minister and his family right now. We all wish him a speedy recovery."
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said his thoughts were with Mr Johnson and his fiancée Ms Symonds. And he added: “I know he’ll be getting the best care possible and will come out of this even stronger.”