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Boris Johnson ‘Continues to Make Steady Progress,’ Remains in ICU with Coronavirus

Tobias Hoonhout

U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care but is “improving,” Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Thursday, adding that he is sitting up in bed and “engaging positively” with health care workers at St Thomas’ Hospital in London as he battles coronavirus.

“The prime minister is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend and my thoughts are with him and his family,” Sunak said during the daily coronavirus briefing in Downing Street. He said Johnson is “receiving excellent care from the NHS team at St Thomas'” and “continues to make steady progress.”

Johnson, who announced on March 27 that he had tested positive for coronavirus, was admitted to the hospital Sunday as a “precautionary step.” While officials stressed it “wasn’t an emergency,” with Johnson himself tweeting the move was for “some routine tests,” the prime minister was then moved to intensive care on Monday after his condition “worsened.”

The U.K. reported a record-high number of 938 daily deaths due to coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total to over 7,000. But officials said new cases were not “accelerating out of control,” and that the country’s strict social-distancing measures — which Johnson implemented after first pursuing a herd-immunity strategy — were making an impact.

“We are beginning to see the benefits, I believe (of the government’s lockdown measures), but the really critical thing, I believe, is that we have to continue following instructions,” NHS England medical director Stephen Powis said. “We have to continue following social distancing, because if we don’t, the virus will start to spread again.”

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