U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Condition is ‘Improving’ in Intensive Care

Boris Johnson

The condition of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains in hospital suffering from coronavirus, is improving, according to an update this afternoon from Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Sunak said that Johnson remains in intensive care in St Thomas’ hospital in London, but is now “sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.”

Johnson has been in hospital since Sunday, where he was admitted after a cough and high temperature persisted 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Earlier today, Downing Street said the Prime Minister was in “good spirits” and that he is continuing to receive standard oxygen treatment. He was breathing without any assistance, such as mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.

The U.K. has just reported the largest daily rise in deaths from coronavirus — up by 938 — taking the total death toll to 7,097.

As well as providing an update on the condition of Boris Johnson, Sunak also announced a £750 million ($931 million) funding package for frontline charities.

He also said the government will match “pound for pound” donations to the BBC’s fund-raising entertainment show “The Big Night In” on April 23, with a minimum pledge of £20 million ($25 million). Funds raised through the three-hour show on BBC One are being split equally between the BBC’s biggest charitable partners, BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief.

However, Sunak did not use this afternoon’s press conference to announce an extension to government support for the self-employed, which many within the U.K. entertainment industry have called for.

The complex employment patterns of the U.K. industry mean that many freelance workers in particular will not be eligible for government support.

Sunak said the coronavirus crisis “will have a significant impact on the economy and not in an abstract way — on people’s jobs and livelihoods.”

He said the government’s previously announced measures will “significantly help mitigate some of the impact”.

Sunak added: “If we weren’t doing all the things we are doing, it would certainly be worse. We are doing the right things.”

He explained that worries about fraud had influenced the way the measures had been designed. “That means some people might fall through the cracks. It means people are saying: ‘Can you not do it this way, can you include us?’ and the reason we’ve not been able to do that is to protect against exactly that — exactly the risk of fraud or spurious claims that we won’t be able to verify.”