News That Matters

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson must rest up, says PM’s father

Boris Johnson “must rest up” after he was moved from intensive care with coronavirus, his father has said.

“He almost took one for the team and we’ve got to make sure we play properly now,” Stanley Johnson told the BBC.

Scientific adviser Prof Neil Ferguson, who was asked about coming out of lockdown, said it would likely “be targeted by age, by geography”.

Meanwhile, the government has launched a campaign urging people to stay at home over the Easter Bank Holiday.

Stanley Johnson spoke of his “relief” and said the whole family was “tremendously grateful” that the prime minister had been moved out of intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital, adding that he thought his illness had “got the whole country to realise this is a serious event”.

“It does come close to home. It’s certainly made me feel cautious,” he said.

He added that there would have to be a “period of adjustment” before the PM returned to work in Downing Street, saying “he must rest up”.

Prof Ferguson, of Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that work to end the coronavirus lockdown in the UK was the “number one topic and priority” both in the scientific community and in government. “Every waking minute, as it were,” he said.

Speaking about what measures might come in to end the lockdown, Prof Ferguson said the UK would need to introduce larger levels of testing at community level “to isolate cases more effectively”.

However, he suggested the lockdown would have to remain in place for “several more weeks”.

It comes as cabinet minister Robert Jenrick defended his travel moves amid reports he flouted lockdown rules.

The housing secretary is said to have travelled from London to a second home in Herefordshire, and separately visited his parents in neighbouring Shropshire, according to the Daily Mail and the Guardian.

The government has advised against travel to second homes – and urged people to distance themselves from elderly relatives.

Mr Jenrick, the MP for Newark in Nottinghamshire, said he had been in London on ministerial duties and left for what he described as a “family home” in Herefordshire to join his wife and children.

He added that he visited his parents to deliver essentials, including medicines – allowed by the rules.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said it was “important for public confidence” that Mr Jenrick explained the purpose of the journey.

But he added that if the housing secretary had delivered medicine to his parents, “clearly… it fits within the four exceptions”.

Prof Paul Cosford, medical director for Public Health England, said government guidelines were “quite clear” that people must stay at home except in one of four circumstances, including exercise, essential shopping for food and medicines, healthcare and essential work.

“I can’t comment on Mr Jenrick, it sounds as if what he did was within one of the four guidelines to me, but others will obviously have to think about that more,” he told the Today programme.

Asked about the government’s lockdown exit strategy, Prof Cosford said he “could conceive of circumstances in which some of the restrictions are lifted sooner and some are lifted later”, but cautioned that there was still an “awfully long way to go”.

The number of people to have died in hospital in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus has risen to 7,978, officials announced on Thursday – up 881 on the previous day.

The prime minister was moved out of intensive care on Thursday evening but remains in hospital, Downing Street has said.

He has been receiving treatment for coronavirus at St Thomas’ Hospital in London since Sunday.

No 10 said he “he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who is standing in for Mr Johnson – has said lockdown restrictions will stay in place until evidence showed the UK had moved beyond the peak of the virus.

He told the government’s daily news conference: “After all the efforts everybody has made, after all the sacrifices so many people have made let’s not ruin it now.

“Let’s not undo the gains we’ve made, let’s not waste the sacrifices so many people have made.

“We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and to hurt our country.”

He acknowledged it was hard for people hoping to go out and be with their families over Easter, but urged restraint.

“Unfortunately, right now we just can’t do those sorts of things and I am really sorry about that,” he said.

Mr Raab was speaking ahead of a bank holiday weekend forecasted to see temperatures as high as 26C in London on Saturday, though cooler weather is expected on Sunday.

Police forces and local authorities said they had already turned away would-be holidaymakers making journeys to popular destinations on Thursday.

Downing Street has said it gave its “full backing” to officers enforcing the lockdown rules.

A number of Easter-themed government adverts will be running in newspapers and on social media urging people to stay at home during the holiday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

A government spokesperson said: “We understand that people will want to spend time with their friends and families this Easter, and we recognise that we are asking the public to make sacrifices in the fight against this disease.

“We are at a crucial moment in preventing further transmission of coronavirus, and so it is vital that we continue following the government’s guidance.”

In other developments:


How have you been affected by the issues relating to coronavirus? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

BBC News – Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *