U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27 as the first leader of major countries to be infected with the virus has been transferred to an intensive care unit. As he is not in a condition to conduct state affairs, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab will deputize. According to The New York Times, unlike the U.S. system in which a vice president takes over state affairs under certain circumstances, such as the death of a president, the U.K. does not have a specific manual in place for the absence of its prime minister.
“Over the course of [Monday] afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital,” said the spokesperson of the prime minister on Monday (local time). The prime minister remains conscious but has been transferred to an intensive care unit in case he will require a respirator. “I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe,” the prime minister wrote on his social media account on Monday afternoon before the spokesperson’s announcement.
He had been self-quarantined at his official residence since his diagnosis. As his symptoms, such as fever, have not improved, he was admitted to London's St. Thomas' Hospital on Sunday. His partner, Carrie Symonds who is due to give birth in early summer, is also under self-quarantine for showing suspicious symptoms.
Leaders of countries around the world all wished for Prime Minister Johnson’s fast recovery. “I want to send best wishes to a very good friend of mine, and a friend to our nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” said U.S. President Donald Trump. He also said he had asked two companies that have dealt with treating "ebola, AIDS, others" to contact the U.K. “To my dear friend @BorisJohnson, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as you fight for a swift recovery,” said Japanese President Shinzo Abe in English and Japanese via Twitter on Tuesday. French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former U.K. Prime Minister and Johnson’s Oxford alumnus David Cameron, and former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May joined in as well.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Raab said Tuesday that the government affairs will be carried out as usual, adding that he and his colleagues were making sure they implemented plans Mr. Johnson had instructed them to deliver during a press conference on Monday as a deputy for the prime minister. Secretary Raab became a member of the ruling Conservative Party in the House of Commons in 2010 after graduating from the University of Cambridge and gained prominence by supporting the Brexit decision during the 2016 EU membership referendum. He was appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union under former Prime Minister May, but resigned in opposition to her administration’s Draft Withdrawal Agreement. He launched a campaign for the Conservative Party leadership election, but was later eliminated and endorsed Boris Johnson. He was appointed as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on July 24, 2019, the day of Prime Minister Johnson’s inauguration.
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