U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital Sunday evening for tests due to “persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” 10 days after he tested positive.
Downing Street released a statement calling it a “precautionary step” that followed the advice of Johnson’s doctor.
But the Guardian reported that the prime minister has been more seriously ill than “he or his officials were prepared to admit” and was having difficulty breathing. His pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds had also tested positive for COVID-19 but has reportedly improved.
Johnson remains in charge of the government. If his condition deteriorates, foreign secretary Dominic Raab would take over the reins.
The U.K. has reported close to 50,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and almost 5,000 deaths.
News of his admittance to hospital came soon after the Queen made a rare televised speech to the British public under lockdown, urging them to remain “united and resolute.” She also paid tribute to the National Health Service.
“I want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles,” the Queen said, adding that every hour of their hard work brings the public “closer to their normal lives.”
Johnson was admitted to an NHS hospital. In a statement, Downing Street thanked NHS staff and urged the public to “continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Cover: A file photo dated on March 18, 2020 shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaving Number 10 at Downing Street, London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)