UK's Boris Johnson 'responding to treatment' after a second night in intensive care with coronavirus

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks and takes questions during a press conference in Downing Street regarding the coronavirus outbreak, on March 9, 2020. in London, England.

Alberto Pezzali – WPA Pool | Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is responding to treatment after spending a second night in intensive care, his spokesman said Wednesday. 

He also made clear that the prime minister is “not working.” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently deputizing for Johnson.

“The prime minister remains clinically stable and is responding to treatment. He continues to be cared for in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ hospital,” the spokesman told reporters.

Johnson was admitted to the intensive care unit at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, on Monday evening after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.

It was announced on March 27 that Johnson had tested positive for COVID-19, but he wasn’t admitted to hospital until Sunday for “tests” due to persistent symptoms of the virus, including a cough and fever.

Speaking at the government’s daily press conference Tuesday, Raab  said the prime minister had been “receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance.”

“He’s not required any mechanical ventilation or noninvasive respiratory support. He remains in good spirits and in keeping with clinical practice his progress continues to be monitored closely in critical care,” Raab said.

The U.K. reported its largest daily rise in deaths so far on Tuesday, with 786 fatalities reported, taking the overall death toll to 6,159 people.

The sharp rise in deaths (up from 439 reported Monday) has been partly attributed to a lag in data collection from the weekend, Sky News reported. To date, 55,242 people in the U.K. have tested positive for the virus.

Officials said there are tentative signs that the spread of the virus is slowing. The government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Tuesday that it was “possible that we’re beginning to see… the curve flattening.” He said it would be another “week or so” before there could be any certainty of that, however.

Johnson was the first world leader to contract the coronavirus and his admission to intensive care has shocked many. On Tuesday, he was sent best wishes from leaders in Europe, and President Trump, who called him a “very good friend.”