British PM Boris Johnson leaves ICU, in ‘extremely good spirits’

Doctors transferred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson out of the intensive care unit at a London hospital Thursday, his office said.

Police stand outside St.Thomas’ Hospital in London, Britain, on Tuesday. Johnson spent three nights in intensive care there. Photo by Andy Rain

Downing Street said Johnson is now in the standard ward at St. Thomas’ Hospital after spending his third night in the ICE.

“He is in extremely good spirits,” a statement from his office said.

Johnson is doing “reasonably well,” British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC News on Thursday.

“He’s stable, improving, sat up and engaged with medical staff.”

The British leader was taken to the hospital Sunday after 10 days of self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms. He was admitted to intensive care a day later but hasn’t needed a ventilator, officials said.

In his absence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been acting as Johnson’s deputy while chairing the government’s “coronavirus war cabinet” meetings. A meeting is scheduled for later Thursday at which an extension of Britain’s three-week lockdown order will be discussed with leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Government leaders said it is likely the stay-at-home orders will be extended from their original end date after this weekend as Britain has seen a rising curve of new cases and deaths.

Health officials reported nearly 1,000 deaths on Wednesday, putting Britain close to the highest daily figures recorded by Italy and Spain. A peak in the curve is not expected until next week.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said there is “virtually zero prospect” of experts saying it’s now safe to lift the lockdown, predicting it will be extended for at least several more weeks. Dowden also indicated it’s unlikely the lockdown will end soon.

ByDon Jacobson & Danielle Haynes