Monday, 06 April 2020 17:23

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson 'still in charge' despite hospital admission

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "still very much in charge of the government" despite spending the night in hospital with coronavirus, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said. The PM was taken to a London hospital on Sunday evening with "persistent symptoms" - including a temperature - for a series of routine tests. It is said to be a "precautionary step" taken on the advice of his doctor. Johnson, 55, tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair Monday morning's coronavirus meeting in his place, Jenrick said. 

Jenrick told BBC Breakfast that he hope that as a result of these tests the prime minister will be able to come back to Downing Street as soon as possible. 

Although Downing Street insist the PM is still in charge, if the medics insist he needs to rest and recuperate then he may well have to take a step back for a period of time. In the UK we no longer have a deputy prime minister - the last one was Nick Clegg under David Cameron. Technically, Dominic Raab - as first secretary of state - would be expected to step up. His position as foreign secretary, however, does not put him at the centre of the fight against coronavirus. It would seem likely therefore that the two figures who would be expected to take a key role would be Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. 

At the moment the focus is on "flattening the curve" and reducing the level of infections and admissions to hospital. The day-to-day decisions are therefore likely to depend much more on the advice of the scientists and officials. The really big decisions are some way off - when it is hoped the prime minister will have recovered//BBC

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