British PM Boris Johnson tested negative for coronavirus before leaving hospital spokesman

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested negative for the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus before his discharge from hospital, a spokesman has said. The PM will only return to work when cleared by his medical team.

Johnson, 55, was discharged from hospital on Sunday, a week after he was admitted with a severe case of coronavirus. The Prime Minister spent several days in intensive care, and said after his discharge that “it could have gone either way.” 

A spokesman for the PM said on Monday that Johnson tested negative for the virus before his release. He will nevertheless continue to rest at his country residence at Chequers, and “any decisions which he makes in relation to when he returns to government work will be following the advice of his medical team,” the spokesman added.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will continue to deputize for Johnson.

Johnson’s insistence on working remotely, following his initial diagnosis in March, has been blamed for his eventual hospitalization. Though the premier appeared visibly sick while he addressed the public, he nonetheless continued releasing video messages and chairing “digital cabinets.”

Still, even Johnson’s fiercest opponents wished him well during his time in hospital. #PrayForBoris trended on Twitter, and new Labour leader Keir Starmer and Scottish National Party head Nicola Sturgeon were among the well-wishers.

When he does return to work, Johnson will head a government that is still drawing criticism for its response to the pandemic. His cabinet has faced persistent criticism for shortages of protective gear in hospitals, and the public’s patience for the strict lockdown measures in place has begun to wear thin. 

Meanwhile, the death toll has continued to rise unabated. 737 new fatalities on Sunday brought the UK’s confirmed deaths above 10,000, while infections rose to nearly 84,000, passing China’s 82,000.

Globally, more than 1.8 million people have caught the virus, and more than 115,000 have died. 

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