LONDON -- The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked medical staff for saving his life after he was released from the hospital on Sunday following a spell in intensive care with coronavirus.
In a five-minute video address, Johnson, wearing a suit and tie, said: “I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question.”
He reserved special thanks for two nurses -- Jenny from New Zealand, and Luis from Portugal -- for staying by during the crucial period he spent in the ICU at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
“The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching,” he said. “And they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”
Johnson’s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant with their child and was bedbound herself earlier this month after experiencing coronavirus symptoms, said she will “never stop thanking” the staff at St Thomas’s Hospital, where Johnson was treated.
“There were times last week that were very dark indeed,” she posted on Twitter. “My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.”
Johnson will continue his recovery at Chequers, a countryside residence reserved for prime ministers to use while in office, according to Downing Street, but it is unclear when he will be fit to return to lead the country.
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In the meantime, Dominic Raab, the First Secretary of State, will deputise in Johnson’s absence, as the government faced heavy criticism over the weekend over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, one of the government’s senior scientific advisers, told the BBC that the U.K. could surpass Italy and Spain to become "one of the worst, if not the worst affected country in Europe.”
Meanwhile, a row erupted over the weekend over new concerns that the National Health Service, already stretched, was running low on key protective equipment for frontline workers.
“You’ve seen just this weekend a real issue about protective equipment, with the government saying one thing and the frontline saying another,” Sir Keir Starmer, the newly-elected leader of the opposition Labour Party, said. He also added that up to 50% of doctors in high risk areas did not have the right equipment.
At the daily briefing from Downing Street over the weekend, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said she was “sorry if people feel that there have been failings” in regards to protective equipment. Her apology was described as “half-hearted” by critics.
An update on whether the government will extend the lockdown currently in place across the U.K. is expected on Thursday, as governments across Europe continue to tease the possibility that the restrictions to ordinarily life may soon be lifted.
As of Sunday morning, 84,279 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the U.K., with 10,612 death, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.