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UK PM Johnson stable after second night in intensive care battling COVID-19

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a second night in intensive care and was in a stable condition on Wednesday after receiving oxygen support for COVID-19 complications, an official said.

“He is comfortable, he’s stable, he’s in good spirits; while he’s had oxygen, he hasn’t been on a ventilator,” Edward Argar, a Junior Health Minister, said on Wednesday.

Johnson, who tested positive nearly two weeks ago, was admitted to St Thomas’ hospital on Sunday evening with a persistent high temperature and cough, but his condition deteriorated.

He was rushed into an intensive care unit.

The 55-year-old British leader has received oxygen support but was not put on a ventilator.

His designated deputy, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said he would soon be back at the helm as the world faces one of its gravest public health crisis in a century.

As Johnson battled the novel coronavirus in hospital, the United Kingdom was entering what scientists said was the deadliest phase of the outbreak and grappling with the question of when to lift the lockdown.

Inside the government, ministers were debating how long the world’s fifth-largest economy could afford to be shut down, and the long-term implications of one of the most stringent set of emergency controls in peacetime history.

The United Kingdom’s total hospital deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 786 to 6,159 as of 1600 GMT on April 6, the latest publicly available death toll, though just 213,181 people out of the population of around 68 million have been tested.

Britain was in no position to lift the shutdown as the peak of the outbreak was still over a week away, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said.

“We are nowhere near lifting the lockdown,” Khan said.

Johnson was breathing without any assistance and had not required respiratory support, said Raab, who said the prime minister, whom he described as “a fighter”, remained in charge.

There are few precedents in British history of a prime minister being incapacitated at a time of major crisis, though Winston Churchill suffered a stroke while in office in 1953.

Also Tony Blair twice underwent heart treatment in the 2000s.

Johnson has delegated some authority to Raab, who was appointed foreign minister less than a year ago, though any major decisions – such as when to lift the lockdown – would in effect need the blessing of Johnson’s cabinet.

Raab said ministers had “very clear directions, very clear instructions” from Johnson but it was not clear what would happen if crucial decisions needed to be made which strayed from the approved plan.

Michael Heseltine, who served as deputy prime minister to John Major in the 1990s, told the Telegraph Raab’s position needed to be clarified.

Former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said most major decisions over the coronavirus strategy had been taken with the important exception of whether or not to ease the lockdown, a call that will need to be made in the next week or soon after.

“That is not just a medical judgement. It has to be a balance between the medical considerations and the consequences of leaving the whole economy shut down,” Rifkind told BBC TV.

While such a decision would be made by cabinet even if Johnson were not unwell, he said Britain’s prime minister had authority and sway as the “primus inter pares” – Latin for “first among equals”.

“He very often can steer the direction in a particular way. Dominic Raab doesn’t have the authority nor would he claim it,” Rifkind said.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/
(NAN)

Fatima Sule: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

UK to reopen thousands of shops as eases coronavirus lockdown: Johnson

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Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Johnson also set out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

He told a news conference that from June 1, outdoor markets and care showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

All other non-essential retail could reopen from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.

“There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country,’’ Johnson said.

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Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Sport

McIlroy, Johnson triumph as charity match offers ‘normalcy’

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A tie-break win for world number one Rory McIlroy and teammate Dustin Johnson at the Driving Relief two-on-two charity skins match on Sunday injected suspense to a course absent of fans and applause in the COVID-19 era.

Wearing microphones that captured their smack talk and frustrations, caddie-less competitors McIlroy and Johnson faced off against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, carrying their own clubs and adhering to social distancing procedures after undergoing a battery of tests and screenings.

Eager golf fans tuned in for one of the rare few live televised events and were treated to a bit of mild trash talk early on as McIlroy teased his 21-year-old opponent Wolff after sinking a putt for par four on the second hole.

“I think you forget I’ve won two FedEx Cups that totaled at $25 million,” said McIlroy. “Doesn’t faze me, youngster.”

That bravado was eventually tempered, however, as Fowler’s seven birdies put pressure on the world number one and Johnson, the heavily favoured pair, who boast five major titles between them.

The competition came down to a closest-to-the-hole tiebreak in which McIlroy clinched the victory, in spite of an admirable 120-yard wedge shot from Wolff, letting out a whoop and offering his teammate an “air-five.”

“These Seminole greens, the ball can do funny things when you think it’s in a good place,” said McIlroy, who basked in the “normalcy” of being back in competition.

“It’s been awesome and it’s nice to get back on the golf course.”

Raising more than $5.5 million through sponsors and donations for COVID-19 relief, the competition quickly trended on social media, as golf-starved fans reveled in seeing their favourite players compete in unique circumstances.

“Does DJ (Dustin Johnson) legitimately not know how to carry a golf bag anymore or something?” tweeted @14Thaddeus14, as images of the 2016 U.S. Open champ’s clubs hanging haphazardly from his shoulder prompted good-natured ribbing on Twitter.

Wolff’s tie-dyed sneakers and handlebar mustache and Fowler’s pantomime gestures to an imaginary crowd proved that the proceedings were anything but business as usual, with comedic actor Bill Murray showing off his quarantine snacks during a Skype dial-in to the telecast.

The competitors swapped out the PGA Tour-mandated slacks for shorts in the 87-degree Fahrenheit heat, as clouds dotted the otherwise clear blue skies along the Florida coast.

As young Wolff’s nerves settled and Fowler visibly reveled in the return to competition, the scene was enough to make anyone a bit jealous – including world number two Jon Rahm.

“I think we’re all itching to be out there,” said Rahm, dialing in to the broadcast from his Arizona home. “I sure wish I was there.”

With professional sports slowly lurching back to life in empty stadiums, arenas and venues across the world, the event marked yet another incremental move forward into a new normal.

The PGA Tour is set to resume next month in a fanless setting for the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, with players and caddies facing a host of tests and screenings.

NASCAR also resumed on Sunday at South Carolina’s Darlington Raceway and Major League Baseball is currently proposing ways in which it could salvage its 2020 season.

U.S. President Donald Trump dialed in to the golf broadcast to applaud the event, saying that live sports are good for the collective “psyche.”

“We want to get it back to where it was – we want big, big stadiums loaded with people,” Trump said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

PM Johnson accused of ducking COVID-19 comparisons with European nations

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain’s COVID-19 death toll was “deeply horrifying” on Wednesday after he was accused of avoiding comparisons with other European nations.

Opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer told parliament he was “baffled” by the government’s withdrawal of daily graphs comparing Britain’s deaths and infections with those of other countries

He said that the charts had been “used for seven weeks to reassure the public.”

Johnson did not explain why the graphs were no longer used, but he said scientific advisers believed international comparisons were “premature… [until] we have all the excess death totals for all the relevant countries.”

“Now I am not going to try to pretend that the [British] figures, when they are finally confirmed, are anything other than stark and deeply, deeply horrifying,” he said.

Pressed again on the dropping of daily comparisons, Johnson said the government was “watching intently what is happening in other countries.”

Signs of increasing infections in some nations that had already relaxed lockdowns gave “a very clear warning not to proceed too fast or too recklessly,” he added.

Britain has reported Europe’s highest official death toll of more than 33,000. Health data analyst Jamie Jenkins estimated on Tuesday that its true total is more than 60,000, based on seasonal excess deaths.

Johnson allowed a minor easing of Britain’s lockdown this week, encouraging people who are unable to work from home to resume their journeys to work from Wednesday.

Schools are scheduled to gradually reopen from June 1.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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UK govt. plans to conduct 200,000 COVID-19 tests daily by end of May – Johnson

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The UK government intends to double the number of tests for the coronavirus run per day by the end of May and to carry out up to 200,000, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said that the country had begun producing a new reagent that would act as a confirmatory sample during COVID-19 tests and boost UK’s testing capability to detect the disease.

“We are running at about 100,000 a day, but the ambition, clearly, is to get up to 200,000 a day by the end of this month and then to go even higher,” Johnson told lawmakers at the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions after undergoing treatment for COVID-19.

The prime minister added a fantastic testing regime would to be absolutely critical to the UK’s long-term economic recovery.

Over the past month, the UK has rapidly stepped up its testing capability to detect COVID-19 with Health Secretary Matt Hancock setting the target of conducting 100,000 tests per day by the end of April, which was reached on the last day of the month.

However, the number of daily tests conducted in the country has since fallen.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Social Care reported that 84,806 tests had been conducted over the past 24 hours.

The UK has registered 29,427 fatalities from the disease and nearly 195,000 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak of the virus in the country.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Entertainment

Mercy Johnson welcomes 4th child

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Mercy Johnson’s husband, Prince Okojie, has announced the birth of their 4th child on  his instagram page on Monday.

The husband of the actress displayed the baby’s picture with her name as: Divine-Mercy Ehinomen Okojie.

He said: “Every good and perfect gift is from God. The wait is finally over. Please share in our joy as we announce the arrival of our daughter. Divine-Mercy Ehinomen Okojie.”

Some celebrities also congratulated the couple on the same page in likes of Nkechi Blessing and Oluwabukola Arugba and a host of others.

Blessing wrote: “Thank you Jesus.”

Arugba said: “Congratulations darling.”

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni (NAN)

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General news

Boris Johnson calls for “truly global effort” to combat COVID-19

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British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has called for “a truly global effort” against COVID-19, saying that “the race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries.”

The British High Commission in Nigeria said in a statement that Johnson made the call on Monday during a virtual Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Conference co-hosted by the UK and eight other countries and organisations.

The UK is co-hosting the summit with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and the European Commission.

“To win this battle, we must work together to build an impregnable shield around all our people, and that can only be achieved by developing and mass producing a vaccine.

“The more we pull together and share our expertise, the faster our scientists will succeed.

“The race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes.

“It’s humanity against the virus – we are in this together, and together we will prevail,” said the British leader.

He used the forum to confirm his country’s pledge of £388 million funding for research into vaccines, tests and treatments – part of a larger £744 million existing UK aid commitment to the $8 billion global target to help end the pandemic and support the global economy.

He said that tackling Coronavirus globally would also ensure that life-saving vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests are available as soon as possible.

Also speaking, British International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said the UK was playing its part in stopping the global spread of coronavirus to save lives everywhere.

“It is only by working together that we will prevent future waves of infection and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.

“By strengthening developing countries’ health systems and working to find a vaccine,” Trevelyan said.

On June 4, the UK will host the Global Vaccine Summit, bringing together countries and organisations to follow the UK’s lead in investing in the work of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

 

 

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Entertainment

Nollywood stars wish Mercy Johnson safe delivery of 4th child

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Following the now refuted delivery report of Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson’s fourth child, some Nigerian actresses have expressed their well-wishes to the movie producer as she wait to deliver her baby in the U.S.A.

Colleagues, Tonto Dikeh and Toyin Abraham showered prayers on the mother of three, wishing her a successful child delivery.

Their expression of goodwill came after the publication of fake news that Mercy Johnson had welcomed her fourth child.

Hours after the publication, her husband took to social media to refute the reports.

Mercy Johnson also took to her Instagram page on Sunday to dispel the rumors with a photo of her baby bump and her husband with the caption; “A quiet Sunday with my loves.

Tonto Dikeh, Toyin Abraham have showered prayers on her.

They wrote; Toyin Abraham: “U will deliver like the Hebrew women”.

Tonto Dikeh: “Kia my sister safe delivery, you both look great, God’s blessings.”

Uche Elendu wrote: “Blessed my love”.

Moyo Lawal wrote: “Congrats in advance.”

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

 

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Entertainment

Boris Johnson welcomes first child with Fiancée, Carrie Symonds amidst coronavirus crisis 

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UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has announced the arrival of his first child with fiancée, Carrie Symonds days after he returned to work recovering from the coronavirus disease.

Johnson was reportedly present for the birth of his son at a hospital in London.

The couple are now proud parents to a “healthy baby boy” who was born earlier this morning, their spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“Both mother and baby are doing very well, he said.

The Prime Minister and Miss Symonds would like to thank the fantastic NHS maternity team.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Johnson had in February announced that he and Carrie were engaged and expecting a baby.

”The Prime Minister and Miss Symonds are very pleased to announce their engagement and that they are expecting a baby in the early summer,” a spokesperson for the couple said at the time.

The pair have been living together in 10 Downing Street since last July and have also adopted an adorable dog, Dilyn.

Johnson has four grown-up children with his second wife Marina Wheeler, who the politician married 25 years ago.

They’re the first unmarried couple to move into the prime minister’s residence at No 10 Downing Street together.

The prime minister had previously said that he intended to take paternity leave after the birth of his son, although it was unclear if the coronavirus crisis would change those plans.

The baby boy is the third child to be born to a serving UK. prime minister in the last century, according to Britain’s Metro newspaper.

Johnson also has an 11-year-old daughter with Helen Macintyre, who is an art consultant.

Symonds, Johnson’s fiancee is 32 years old and was previously head of communications for the Tories, but now works for an ocean conservation charity.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

PM Johnson quashes hopes of early easing of Britain’s COVID-19 lockdown

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Britain is “turning the tide” in its fight to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, but must continue social-distancing measures to avoid a second peak of infections, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Johnson said this in his first speech on Monday since returning to work after his own infection with the virus.

Johnson urged the public not to “throw away all the effort and sacrifice” and risk a second peak by lifting Britain’s near-lockdown too early.

“And yet, it is also true that we are making progress with fewer hospital admissions, fewer COVID-19 patients in ICU [intensive care units] and real signs now that we are passing through the peak.

“I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social-distancing measures,” Johnson said

Johnson who was speaking outside Downing Street however, warned that a second peak could lead to “economic disaster.”

He said that the government wanted to reduce the number of deaths and infections, protect health services, expand COVID-19 testing programmes

He added that government also wanted to secure a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health staff before it moves to a “second phase” of responding to the pandemic.

It will then “begin gradually to refine the economic and social restrictions and one-by-one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy.

“And in that process, difficult judgments will be made and we simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made,” Johnson said.

The Health Ministry reported another 360 deaths linked to Covid-19 infections on Monday, the lowest daily total for several weeks, but still taking Britain’s total to more than 21,000.

The ministry said it had confirmed 153,000 infections from 543,000 tests. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of more have been infected.

“In most parts of the country, the number of people in hospital with coronavirus is beginning to fall,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock told reporters later Monday.

But Hancock said it was “too early” to consider allowing schools to reopen, urging people to continue following social-distancing rules.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Coronavirus

Johnson: Britain ‘turning tide’ on coronavirus but risks second peak

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Britain is `turning the tide’ in its fight to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus but must continue social distancing measures to avoid a second peak of infections.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday in his first speech since returning to work after his own infection with the virus.

Johnson urged the public not to `throw away all the effort and sacrifice’ and risk a second peak by lifting Britain’s near lockdown too early.

“And yet it is also true that we are making progress with fewer hospital admissions, fewer COVID-19 patients in ICU and real signs now that we are passing through the peak,’’ he said outside Downing Street.

“I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures,’ Johnson said, warning that “a second peak could lead to economic disaster.’’

The government wants to reduce the number of deaths and infections, protect health services, expand COVID-19 testing programmes.

He added that government would secure a supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health staff before it moves to a second phase of responding to the pandemic.

“It will then begin gradually to refine the economic and social restrictions and one-by-one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy,” Johnson said.

“And in that process, difficult judgements will be made and we simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made.’’

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

British PM, Boris Johnson could return to work Monday – Report

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could return to governing the country as early as Monday after recovering from the novel coronavirus, according to a media report.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Friday morning tjat Johnson would be returning to office in London at a critical stage of the pandemic, as his party members wish to gradually ease lockdown restrictions.

His office had not confirmed the report.

Johnson was recuperating at Chequers country estate outside London, where he had been conducting some work duties including taking phone calls from the Queen and U.S. President Donald Trump, the Press Association news agency reported.

Johnson had been admitted to intensive care in London as his breathing became more restricted by COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. He was released from hospital on April 12.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is currently heading the government, which has come under criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

At least 18,500 people in Britain have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins university data.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Trump, British PM Johnson reaffirm cooperation to reopen global economies

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U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed their close cooperation to reopen global economies during a phone conversation on Tuesday, according to the White House.

“President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson reaffirmed their close cooperation through the G7 and G20 to reopen global economies and ensure medical care and supplies reach all those in need,” the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral trade and global issues. “The Prime Minister shared that he is feeling better and on the road to recovery,” it said.

Both countries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 800,000 Tuesday afternoon, including over 43,900 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

The United Kingdom reported 129,044 COVID-19 cases, including 17,337 deaths, the nation’s department of health and social care said earlier in the day.
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General news

Buhari congratulates British PM Boris Johnson on discharge from hospital

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following his discharge from hospital over Coronavirus.

The president’s congratulatory message was conveyed via a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday.

In the congratulatory letter,  dated April 14, 2020, to Mr Johnson, President Buhari said he received “with great relief the news of your discharge from hospital after being successfully treated for COVID-19”.

The Nigerian leader, who expressed delight on behalf of his family and the government and people of Nigeria, at the Prime Minister’s recovery, said:

“We all join you in appreciating the wonderful staff at both the hospital and the NHS who worked round the clock to look after you and those afflicted by COVID-19.”

Buhari also wished the Prime Minister “full recovery and good health in the coming days”.

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following his discharge from hospital over Coronavirus.

The president’s congratulatory message was conveyed via a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday.

In the congratulatory letter,  dated April 14, 2020, to Mr Johnson, President Buhari said he received “with great relief the news of your discharge from hospital after being successfully treated for COVID-19”.

The Nigerian leader, who expressed delight on behalf of his family and the government and people of Nigeria, at the Prime Minister’s recovery, said:

“We all join you in appreciating the wonderful staff at both the hospital and the NHS who worked round the clock to look after you and those afflicted by COVID-19.”

Buhari also wished the Prime Minister “full recovery and good health in the coming days”.

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Buhari congratulates PM Boris Johnson on discharge from hospital

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, following his discharge from hospital over Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The president’s congratulatory message was conveyed via a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday.

In the congratulatory letter,  dated April 14, 2020, to Mr Johnson, President Buhari said he received “with great relief the news of your discharge from hospital after being successfully treated for COVID-19”.

The Nigerian leader, who expressed delight on behalf of his family and the government and people of Nigeria, at the Prime Minister’s recovery, said:

“We all join you in appreciating the wonderful staff at both the hospital and the NHS who worked round the clock to look after you and those afflicted by COVID-19.”

Buhari also wished the Prime Minister “full recovery and good health in the coming days”.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Health

British PM, Johnson tests negative for Coronavirus

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested negative for COVID-19, after he spent a week in the hospital, his spokesman said on Monday.

The test on leaving hospital was standard medical practice, the spokesperson said, according to the Press Association news agency.

Johnson spent a week in hospital including several days in intensive care after contracting the virus, and said he owed his life to the medical staff who treated him.

With the number of coronavirus deaths in Britain hitting 11,329 – a rise of 717 compared to the previous day – the Ministry of Defence said it was deploying 200 military personnel across the country in support of ambulance services, PA cited the prime minister’s office as saying.

Downing Street said the soldiers would carry out a variety of roles including driving vehicles, taking calls, manning response centres and supporting paramedic crews.

Interim chief medical officer Jason Leitch meanwhile urged families of those who have died during the outbreak not to delay funerals, in a bid to stop a backlog.

Excluding Northern Ireland, 88,621 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Britain as of Monday morning. (dpa/NAN)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested negative for COVID-19, after he spent a week in the hospital, his spokesman said on Monday.

The test on leaving hospital was standard medical practice, the spokesperson said, according to the Press Association news agency.

Johnson spent a week in hospital including several days in intensive care after contracting the virus, and said he owed his life to the medical staff who treated him.

With the number of coronavirus deaths in Britain hitting 11,329 – a rise of 717 compared to the previous day – the Ministry of Defence said it was deploying 200 military personnel across the country in support of ambulance services, PA cited the prime minister’s office as saying.

Downing Street said the soldiers would carry out a variety of roles including driving vehicles, taking calls, manning response centres and supporting paramedic crews.

Interim chief medical officer Jason Leitch meanwhile urged families of those who have died during the outbreak not to delay funerals, in a bid to stop a backlog.

Excluding Northern Ireland, 88,621 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Britain as of Monday morning. (dpa/NAN)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested negative for COVID-19, after he spent a week in the hospital, his spokesman said on Monday.

The test on leaving hospital was standard medical practice, the spokesperson said, according to the Press Association news agency.

Johnson spent a week in hospital including several days in intensive care after contracting the virus, and said he owed his life to the medical staff who treated him.

With the number of coronavirus deaths in Britain hitting 11,329 – a rise of 717 compared to the previous day – the Ministry of Defence said it was deploying 200 military personnel across the country in support of ambulance services, PA cited the prime minister’s office as saying.

Downing Street said the soldiers would carry out a variety of roles including driving vehicles, taking calls, manning response centres and supporting paramedic crews.

Interim chief medical officer Jason Leitch meanwhile urged families of those who have died during the outbreak not to delay funerals, in a bid to stop a backlog.

Excluding Northern Ireland, 88,621 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Britain as of Monday morning. (dpa/NAN)

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Foreign

British PM, Johnson tests negative for coronavirus disease

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span class=”credit”> 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested negative for COVID-19, his spokesman said on Monday.

The test on leaving hospital was standard medical practice, the spokesperson said, according to the Press Association news agency.

Johnson spent a week in hospital including several days in intensive care after contracting the virus, and said he owed his life to the medical staff who treated him.

With the number of coronavirus deaths in Britain hitting 11,329 – a rise of 717 compared to the previous day – the Ministry of Defence said it was deploying 200 military personnel across the country in support of ambulance services, PA cited the prime minister’s office as saying.

Downing Street said the soldiers would carry out a variety of roles including driving vehicles, taking calls, manning response centres and supporting paramedic crews.

Interim chief medical officer Jason Leitch meanwhile urged families of those who have died during the outbreak not to delay funerals, in a bid to stop a backlog.

Excluding Northern Ireland, 88,621 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Britain as of Monday morning.

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Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Britain’s virus deaths near 10,000, ‘good progress’ for Johnson

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Britain on Saturday recorded 917 more coronavirus deaths, bringing the overall death toll to nearly 10,000, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson was making “good progress” in his recovery from Covid-19, according to the government.

The Health Department said that a total of 9,875 patients with the coronavirus had died as of Friday evening. Of the almost 270,000 people who have been tested, 78,991 were positive.

The figures reported on Saturday mark a decrease in the daily death rate from the day before, when Britain surpassed Italy’s highest daily death toll for the first time since the pandemic, with 980 mortalities.

The death figures do not include fatalities in care homes.

According to Britain’s Press Association, Johnson has a tablet to watch films such as “Lord of the Rings” and likes to play sudoku while recovering from Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The 55-year-old politician had spent three days in the intensive care unit at a London hospital after his health deteriorated.

He was moved back to a normal ward on Thursday. It remains unclear when he will be able to return to work, with his absence in the middle of a global crisis being sorely evident.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is deputising for Johnson, but there are no clearly defined rules for situations in which a British head of government is not able to fulfil his or her duties.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
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Foreign

Coronavirus: UK PM Johnson makes progress, but still in intensive care

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson continued to make progress, four days after being admitted to hospital with COVID-19, but he remained in intensive care as officials signalled there was no end in sight to an unprecedented national lockdown.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said this at a news conference in Downing Street on Thursday.

Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday evening with a persistent high temperature and cough, and was rushed to intensive care on Monday where he has since spent three nights receiving treatment.

Ministers have said he has been sitting up in bed and talking to medical staff.

“He’s still in intensive care but he continues to make positive steps forward and he’s in good spirits,” Raab said.

Raab, who is deputising for Johnson during the most stringent shutdown in Britain’s peacetime history, said he had not spoken to the prime minister since he was admitted to intensive care.

“I think it’s important, particularly while he’s in intensive care, to let him focus on the recovery. We in the government have got this covered,” Raab said.

Earlier on Thursday, a Downing Street spokesman said Johnson had received oxygen support, but was not put on a ventilator.

The UK death toll in hospitals from coronavirus now stands at 7,978, a rise of 881 on the day but a smaller increase than the 938 seen in Wednesday’s data.

With Johnson absent and the death toll still mounting, the British government is wrestling with two major issues – how to finance a vast increase in state spending to support the shuttered economy, and when to start easing lockdown measures.

With the economy facing potentially the worst hit since World War Two, the government said it had expanded its overdraft facility with the Bank of England.

The central bank has agreed temporarily to finance government borrowing in response to COVID-19 if funds cannot immediately be raised from debt markets, reviving a measure last widely used during the 2008 financial crisis.

The BoE said it was a short-term measure and both it and government said any borrowing from the Ways and Means facility – effectively the government’s overdraft with the Bank – would be repaid by the end of the year.

The government has made pledges costing tens of billions of pounds to support businesses and workers hit by the virus.

On Thursday, the government said an additional 1.2 million claims for welfare payments had been filed since March 16.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
(NAN)

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Foreign

Britain reports record 938 Covid-19 deaths; PM Johnson ‘improving’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “improving” in intensive care, the British government said on Wednesday, as it reported a new daily record of 938 deaths linked to novel coronavirus infections.

Johnson was moved to intensive care late Monday, following his admission to hospital on Sunday for tests after he experienced “persistent symptoms” of the coronavirus. He reported his infection with the virus on March 27.

“The latest from the hospital is that the prime minister remains in intensive care, where his condition is improving,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told reporters.

“I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team,” Sunak added.

Johnson was still receiving “standard oxygen treatment” but was breathing without any other assistance, a Downing Street spokesman said earlier.

The daily high of 938 deaths took Britain’s total to more than 7,000.

The health ministry said the total of confirmed infections rose to nearly 61,000 from 282,000 people tested, but government experts estimated that many hundreds of thousands of people were infected.

Many health experts have criticised the government’s slow response to the crisis, the low level of testing for the virus and the poor provision of intensive care beds, ventilators and protective equipment.

In London, buses began introducing stricter measures to protect drivers and other staff from possible infection with the coronavirus on Wednesday, following the death of at least nine drivers in the city.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city would introduce measures including protective screens for drivers, enhanced cleaning, restricting passengers to boarding only through middle doors and increasing social distancing.

The nine drivers were among 14 London transport staff who died after becoming infected with coronavirus.

Trade union Unite, which represents 20,000 London bus staff, said the new measures would “reduce the risk” but called for more protection.

Many Londoners are working from home or not working during Britain’s near-lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But others, including construction workers, are using the city’s reduced transport service to commute to work, meaning some buses and underground trains are still crowded.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)

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Foreign

UK PM Johnson stable, receiving standard oxygen treatment – Spokesperson

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains “in good spirits” as he is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance, his spokesperson has said.

His spokesperson told newsmen at a briefing on Tuesday in London that the condition of the prime minister was stable.

“The prime minister has been ”stable" overnight andremains “in good spirits”; he has not required mechanical ventilation, or non-invasive respiratory support,” the spokesman said.

Johnson’s personal battle with the virus has shaken the government just as the UK, now in its third week of virtual lockdown, enters what scientists say will be the most deadly phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital across the River Thames from parliament late on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature and a cough, for more than 10 days.

However, his condition rapidly deteriorated over the next 24 hours, and he was moved on Monday to an intensive care unit, where the most serious cases are treated, in case he needed to be put on a ventilator. He was still conscious, his office said.

But the absence of Johnson, the first leader of a major power to be hospitalised after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, has raised questions about who is truly in charge of the world’s fifth largest economy at such a crucial time.

While Britain has no formal succession plan should a prime minister become incapacitated, Johnson asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, 46, to deputise for him “where necessary”, Downing Street said.

At the moment, Raab is presiding over cabinet meetings and also overseeing the nation’s fight against the coronavirus, while Johnson is fighting for his own life.

Johnson, however, is still in charge of the government and is issuing directions when needed, according to a cabinet statement.

If Raab is incapacitated, finance minister Rishi Sunak would take on those responsibilities.

Queen Elizabeth wished Johnson a “full and speedy recovery” and sent a message of support to his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds, and his family. Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, wished Johnson a speedy recovery.

World leaders have expressed their support for the British PM, wishing him a speedy recovery, with U.S. President Donald Trump even saying he has asked American pharma companies to help British medics in Johnson’s treatment.

In the meantime, the UK has reported over 51,000 cases of COVID-19, and the death toll in the country has reached 5,373.

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Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola
(NAN)

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