British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests, Downing Street said Sunday, after days of coronavirus symptoms.
“On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement, adding that the tests were part of a “precautionary step” due to Johnson’s lingering symptoms.
He is expected to stay in the hospital overnight, a Downing Street source told CNN.
The 55-year-old announced that he had tested positive for the virus on March 27, describing a cough and a fever in a video posted to Twitter. In an update on Friday, Johnson said that he continued to experience a temperature.
In its Sunday statement, Downing Street said that the “Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.”
“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,” it added.
Johnson had been running the government remotely during his isolation and remains in charge despite his hospitalization.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Kent Sepkowitz, a physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, said hospital visits could be necessary for testing like a CT scan of the chest or sophisticated bloodwork.
A hospital-grade test of blood oxygen could show “several more variables of lung function and might indicate whether he is just fatigued and spent, or actually in some danger,” Sepkowitz said.
Several of the people around Johnson have also tested positive or experienced symptoms that strongly suggest a coronavirus infection. His pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, has also experienced Covid-19 symptoms, and said over the weekend that she is “on the mend.”
Symonds, 32, took to Twitter Saturday to encourage other pregnant women to follow health guidance, adding that she had not been tested.
“I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend,” she tweeted.
Johnson’s secretary of state for health, Matt Hancock said on March 27 he had the virus, and chief medical officer, Chris Whitty announced that he would begin self-isolation after displaying Covid-19 symptoms.
Johnson was a late convert to the strict social-distancing measures now in place in the UK. Only a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister boasted of shaking the hands of coronavirus patients in hospital. At that time, the UK faced criticism for a more cautious approach to the restrictive measures adopted by its European neighbors. It is now racing to catch up in terms of testing and social distancing.
Reporting contributed by Luke McGee and Arman Azad.