Boris Johnson 'Sat Up And Engaging With Medical Staff', Says Culture Secretary

Ned Simons

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Boris Johnson is “sat up and engaging with medical staff” treating him for coronavirus, the culture secretary has said.

The prime minister spent a third night in intensive care on Wednesday evening at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Asked about his condition on Thursday morning, Oliver Dowden told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “He’s in a stable condition, he seems to be doing reasonably well, he was sat up and engaging with medical staff.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Johnson, will chair a Cobra emergency committee this afternoon to discuss the lockdown measures with leaders of the devolved nations.

No decision is expected to be made at that meeting in Johnson’s absence, with key figures in the response instead discussing how it will be resolved next week.

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford earlier said the lockdown will not end in Wales next week.

He said “we will not throw away the gains” by “abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit”.

Dowden said this morning it was unlikely the lockdown measures will be relaxed now they are beginning to have a positive impact.

“I don’t think it’s very likely these measures are going to be changed given they’re just starting to have an effect but, as we said, we would review them,” he told the BBC.

“It’s only prudent that on an ongoing basis we review them after three weeks.”

Wednesday saw a rise of 938 in the number of deaths in hospitals of patients who tested positive for Covid-19, the highest new total so far.

The restrictions face their toughest test so far over the Easter weekend, with temperatures set to reach 25C (77F) in some parts of the country, which could tempt more people to break the stay at home rules.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday refused to “speculate” about the future of the lockdown, instead confirming there would...

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