UK PM Boris Johnson says the doctors who have been treating him for coronavirus saved his life, in his first statement after being released from intensive care, as Britain’s death toll continues to soar.
“I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life,” Johnson was cited as saying in a short statement reported by British media.
The brief statement issued late Saturday is the ailing prime minister’s first since being taken to intensive care in St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Monday, after his condition deteriorated due to “persistent” coronavirus symptoms.
Sunday marks a week since Johnson was transferred to the hospital, and it’s unclear when he will be discharged.
Initially, Downing Street reported that the PM “went into hospital for some routine tests,” but as his condition continued to worsen, he was taken to an intensive care ward where he received oxygen treatment, but it is not believed he needed a ventilator.
Since his hospitalization, Johnson has received an outpouring of support and well-wishes from both supporters and critics.
The Labour Party, in a rare move, expelled a mayor from its ranks after she said that Johnson, who was still in intensive care at the time, “completely deserves” his health problems.
With the prime minister’s health issues overshadowing much of the coronavirus coverage in the UK, the criticism his cabinet drew from its initial ‘herd immunity’ approach to the pandemic has faded.
Before falling ill with Covid-19 in late March, Johnson sent mixed messages to the public, telling fellow Brits “to go out and enjoy yourselves” despite ordering a three-week nationwide lockdown later the same day.
Johnson, who had been self-isolating inside Downing Street for 10 days before requiring hospitalization, has been chastised for not taking his personal fight with the virus seriously enough as well.
His half-brother, however, blamed the medical staff that was monitoring the PM’s condition inside the residence for allegedly taking a hands-off approach.
“From what I gather – and I wasn’t there – no one asked a doctor to mask up and physically examine him the whole time – more than 10 days,” Max Johnson said.
His allegation, however, was dismissed by his brother’s office, with Downing Street saying it would be “incorrect” to suggest that the PM had never been subjected to a physical exam while in self-isolation.
As Prime Minister Johnson appears to be on the mend, the country’s death toll is smashing records, adding about a thousand fatalities a day. As of Saturday, 9,875 people died of Covid-19 in the UK, after 917 lethal cases were registered in a single day.
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