Boris Johnson's condition is 'improving' and he is 'sitting up in bed'


* Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care with coronavirus

* The PM's temperature is said to have dipped in a positive sign for his condition

* Questions over whether he should have received closer attention in quarantine

* Tory MPs says the weaknesses in support for the premier have been 'exposed'

Boris Johnson is 'improving' in hospital after two days in intensive care battling coronavirus, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed this afternoon.

In news that will come as a relief to the nation he said that the Prime Minister had also been sitting up in bed after two nights in St Thomas's Hospital in London.

Fronting the daily news conference, Mr Sunak began by giving an update on Mr Johnson's condition, amid questions over his treatment in the lead up to his hospitalisation.

'The latest news from the hospital is that the prime minister remains in intensive care, where his condition is improving,' Mr Sunak said,.

'I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: 'So good that the PM is sitting up and his condition is improving. He will fight through!'

No10 tonight confirmed that Mr Johnson 'continues to make steady progress' but remains in intensive care.

Downing Street had earlier confirmed that the PM has not been doing any work, although they said he has been in contact with aides.

There are fears that even the best outcome from his coronavirus struggle will see him out of action for weeks, with experts warning he could need a 'phased return' to work.

There are also questions about the PM's care while he was in isolation, amid suggestions he was not physically monitored and only consulted a doctor by video link.

There are claims that social distancing rules were being flouted in Downing Street as the crisis developed, with meetings in cramped rooms and people coughing freely. Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson was among the first frequent visitor to become infected.

Tory MPs are calling for a review of the premier's medical arrangements, saying the lack of protection has been 'exposed' by the latest crisis.

The UK leader has starkly different health support than in the US, where the president has a dedicated medical team and emergency facilities constantly on standby.

Mr Sunak said the care received by Mr Johnson had been 'excellent'.

He said: 'I think the Prime Minister has received excellent care and advice every step of the process.

'At the end of the day, we're all trying our absolute best, none of us are superhuman and impervious to getting sick during this process and that's what makes this whole thing so awful for all of us.

'But as I've observed and seen, the advice, the care has been excellent, not just beforehand but especially now at St Thomas'.'

Prof Stephen Powis, the NHS England medical director, added: 'I'm absolutely confident the Prime Minister has and is receiving excellent medical care.

'I'm not his physician, he will have been advised by his own doctors, but I do know colleagues at St Thomas' Hospital, in fact a couple of weeks ago I took the opportunity to visit St Thomas' Hospital, visit some of the critical care consultants, and I can't tell you how impressed I was.'

Churchill had personal doctor who travelled with him in WW2  Winston Churchill had a personal doctor who travelled with him during the Second World war as he struggled with health issues behind the scenes. The PM suffered a mild heart attack while at the White House in Washington in 1941, just a year after taking over in No10, and contracted pneumonia two years later.In 1949, while opposition leader, he suffered a stroke on holiday, which affected his health to the extent that the King gently suggested he resign as PM in 1951 in favour of Anthony Eden. Churchill suffered a second one during an official dinner at No 10 while in office in 1953, leaving him paralysed on one side.His aides and family conspired to keep news of his illness out of the press, at a time when the Cold War was very chilly and there were fears he may not survive.Eden's own illness meant that Churchill did not quit until 1955. He suffered a third stroke the following year and died in 1965.

Conservative PM Marcus Fysh told MailOnline the situation was party an historical anomaly due to the different political systems.

'We've got a constitutional monarchy so the monarch is the head of states and has all of that. In America the President is head of state, so that is probably why it has come through in this way. But it is worth considering whether there should in future be special measures for health within the No10 operation.

'I had the privilege of visiting the White House a couple of years ago... all his food is cooked by the US Navy.

'He has got a special water system that is protected and separate from the rest of the public system. It is very well organised.

'They are prepared for every eventuality there in a way I guess has been exposed that we need to think about a bit more.'

'It is worth keeping these things under review because we need to protect our decision makers.'

Mr Fysh said he believed the PM would 'bounce back' and was now 'in very good hands' at St Thomas'. These are teams that are at the top of their game,' he said.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been 'deputised' to fill in for the PM, but the potential issues caused by Mr Johnson's absence have been underlined as the crucial review of lockdown measures was postponed.

Health minister Edward Argar confirmed this morning that consideration... (Read more)

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