A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. He is in extremely good spirits.”
Johnson was first admitted to hospital on Sunday, and entered intensive care on Monday evening. He has spent the last three nights in the ICU, though Downing Street said Wednesday afternoon that his condition was improving.
The 55-year-old Johnson is the first major world leader to have revealed a coronavirus diagnosis.
It was first announced that Johnson had contracted COVID-19 on March 27, and though he had been working from his residence, a persisting cough and fever prompted his admission to hospital on Sunday.
Johnson last communicated publicly on Monday, when he took to Twitter to update that he was in “good spirits” and keeping in touch with his team, which rendered the ICU development later in the day a shock to the nation.
The U.K. has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, which has so far claimed 7,978 lives. There are 60,773 cases of COVID-19 to date, with numbers steadily rising each day.
The country’s lockdown, initially set on March 23 for a three-week period, will likely be extended.
First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who has taken on Johnson’s duties during his time in hospital, said during a press briefing on Thursday evening, “After all the efforts everybody has made, after all the sacrifices so many people have made let’s not ruin it now. Let’s not undo the gains we’ve made, let’s not waste the sacrifices so many people have made. We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and to hurt our country.”
Unlike other countries that were quick to implement precautionary measures such as gatherings bans and lockdowns, the U.K. government was initially slow to act on public health safeguards in the U.K. and has struggled in recent weeks to convey the seriousness of the pandemic to the public.