British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was being shifted treating worsening coronavirus symptoms in an intensive care unit on Tuesday, with his foreign minister deputizing for him as the nation tackles the COVID-19 crisis.
Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in central London late on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature, for more than 10 days.
His condition showed rapid deterioration over the next 24 hours, and he was moved to an intensive care unit – where the most serious cases are treated. Although he had received oxygen, his office said he was still conscious.
Downing Street said the move to intensive care was “a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery”.
Britain has no formal succession plan should a prime minister become incapacitated.
“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary,” Downing Street said.
Just hours earlier, Johnson’s office said he was in good spirits and Raab had told a news conference that the prime minister was still running the government.
The pound edged lower against the dollar and the euro in Asia on Tuesday, trading at $1.2234 following a 0.3% decline on Monday.