London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was in hospital due to persistent coronavirus symptoms, has been taken into intensive care, Downing Street has said.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has taken charge as Johnson was moved to the ICU at St Thomas' Hospital in London on Monday.
A spokesperson for No 10 Downing Street said: 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 spokesperson said.
"The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks to all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.
Johnson had earlier messaged from his hospital bed on Monday to say that he was in good spirits and staying in contact with his ministers to oversee the UK's coronavirus fightback despite his hospitalisation due to persistent COVID-19 symptoms.
The UK PM had been taken to hospital on Sunday night on the advice of his doctors after he continued to have a fever despite self-isolating for more than the stipulated seven days.
"Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I'm in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe, Johnson said in a Twitter post.
I'd like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain. Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, he said.
I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.
Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 6, 2020
Earlier, UK housing and communities secretary Robert Jenrick had said Johnson remains in charge of the UK's response to the coronavirus pandemic and is expected back at No 10 Downing Street soon.
This wasn't an emergency admission. It was a planned admission to undergo some routine tests. He is doing well, I am told, and we look forward to him being back at No 10 soon, the Cabinet minister told the BBC on Monday morning.
The update on the 55-year-old PM's health came after he was admitted to a National Health Service (NHS) hospital in London on Sunday evening on medical advice in what Downing Street said was a precautionary measure for some tests.
This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
"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," the spokesperson said.
Downing Street said that it was considered sensible for doctors to see the UK PM in person given he has ongoing symptoms but he remains in charge of the government and in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab, the First Secretary of State, is the UK PM's chosen second in command and stepped in to chair the daily coronavirus response meeting, dubbed the COVID-19 war cabinet, on Monday morning.
Johnson has until last Friday continued to chair the daily meetings remotely via video conference from his self-isolation in his private quarters in Downing Street since his diagnosis 10 days ago.
He was last seen in public applauding the NHS and other key workers just outside his flat in Downing Street last Thursday and posted his last Twitter video message on Friday in which he said he was still displaying minor symptoms.
"I still have a temperature. So in accordance with government advice I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom itself goes. But we're working clearly the whole time on our programme to beat the virus," he said.