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Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with Covid-19

Image: Number 10 [CC BY-NC-ND], via Flickr

Johnson continues to have symptoms after ten days and has been hospitalised as a precaution

The prime minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital as “a precautionary step” on the evening of 5 April with “persistent symptoms” of Covid-19, some 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

“On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” Downing Street said in a statement. “The prime minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, is expected to chair the regular meeting of the government’s Covid-19 committee today, but Johnson is to remain in the overall charge of the government.

Health secretary Matt Hancock also tested positive over a week ago, but left self-isolation after seven days. Other people close to the PM have also been self-isolating, including his chief adviser Dominic Cummings and chief medical officer, Chris Whitty.

“Doctors will be monitoring important vital signs such as oxygen saturations,” said Rupert Beale, group leader for Cell Biology of Infection Laboratory at Francis Crick Institute.

Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, said estimates show that 5 to 10 per cent of Covid-19 patients end up needing hospital treatment. Regarding care given to hospitalised patients, he said this included oxygen via mask and in some cases ventilatory support, and possibly prophylactic medicines.

“The plan is to enable oxygen exchange, enable the lungs to recover and whilst they are recovering we give a much higher does of oxygen to them as a tool to assist with keeping patients adequately oxygenated and prevent damage to other organs too,” added Pankhania.

“We are in a struggle between humanity and a deadly virus,” said Beale. “Whatever your politics, we are all on the same side. I wish the Prime Minister a speedy recovery.”