Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister was moved to an intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London at around 7pm on the advice of his doctors.
The Evening Express understands that the Prime Minister remains conscious and has been moved to the ICU as a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery.
Mr Johnson, 55, tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago and had been self-isolating in the flat above Number 11 Downing Street prior to being take to hospital on Sunday.
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.”
Mr Raab, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference just hours before the news, said the prime minster was in “good spirits”.
He said: “He was admitted to hospital for tests as a precaution only and that was because some of the symptoms that he had when he first tested positive had persisted.
“He’s had a comfortable night in St Thomas’, he’s in good spirits, and he’s being regularly updated.
“He still remains in charge of the Government and we are getting on with all of the various strands of work to make sure at home and abroad we can defeat the virus and pull the country through coronavirus and the challenges that undoubtedly we’re facing at the moment.”
Mr Raab said that the prime minister’s team are “full throttle” in making sure that his directions and instructions are being implemented whilst he is in hospital.
The news came after as experts warned Britain’s coronavirus lockdown could be in place for longer than previously thought as it is still “too early to tell” whether social distancing measures are working.
The UK’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said it would be a “mistake” to discuss relaxing restrictions on movement until it is certain the disease had peaked.
The comments came as it was announced the number of coronavirus hospital deaths in the UK reached 5,373 – an increase of 439 in a day.
In response to the crisis, the UK went into lockdown just over two weeks ago.
It was previously suggested restrictions could be reviewed as early as next Monday, if the data showed positive signs.
Prof Whitty, in his first public appearance since recovering from coronavirus symptoms, poured cold water on any relaxation of measures however.
Appearing at the daily Downing Street press conference, he said: “The key thing is to get to the point where we are confident we have reached the peak, 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.
“But I think to start having that discussion until we’re confident that that’s where we’ve got to, would I think be a mistake.”
Mr Raab agreed that it was too early to discuss an “exit strategy”.
He said: “The risk right now is if we take our focus off the strategy, which is beginning to work, is that we won’t get through the peak as fast as we need to.
“The government’s overriding priority has got to be to keep up the work and the commitment that so many people have made to make sure that we maintain the social distancing and we stop the spread.”
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.”