Boris Johnson is “stable” after spending the night in intensive care following a worsening of his coronavirus symptoms, Downing Street has said.
The British Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he had been receiving “standard oxygen treatment” but had not required any other assistance in breathing.
Mr Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, on Monday evening, after his condition deteriorated.
His spokesman said the move was a “precautionary step” in case he needed to be put on a ventilator.
“The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits,” the spokesman said.
“He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.
“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”
Mr Johnson was originally admitted to St Thomas’ on Sunday on the advice of his doctor after continuing to display symptoms of cough and high temperature ten days after testing positive for the virus.
Weekly calls between Number 10 and Britain's queen will not take place while the Prime Minister is receiving treatment in intensive care, Downing Street has confirmed.
The UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for the PM, will not be asked to step-in to brief the monarch on Boris Johnson’s behalf.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Buckingham Palace and Her Majesty the Queen have been kept regularly informed about the Prime Minister’s condition and that will continue.
“The Cabinet Secretary and the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary will continue their contacts with the Royal Household on the Prime Minister’s behalf.”
Asked whether Mr Raab would field any phone calls with the Queen, the spokesman added: “No, it has been agreed with the Royal Household that weekly audiences will not go ahead.”
Mr Raab and the Cabinet would be able to take military action without the consent of the Prime Minister after the Foreign Secretary was asked to deputise for Mr Johnson, Downing Street has said.
Mr Raab, as First Secretary of State, would chair any meeting of the National Security Council.
Should Mr Raab be forced to self-isolate or take ill, Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be next in line to take over, Downing Street added.
The PM’s spokesman said: “(Under the) established order of precedence, the Prime Minister has appointed the Foreign Secretary as his First Secretary of State.
“In line with the order of precedence, the Chancellor would follow from the Foreign Secretary.”
The letters of last resort written by Boris Johnson remain in place, the No 10 spokesman said.
“The Prime Minister remains the Prime Minister,” they said.
Mr Raab is working from the Foreign Office but is being assisted by officials from “across Government” as he co-ordinates the coronavirus response, the spokesman said.
Downing Street said it would look into whether to publish the list for the order of precedence for other Cabinet ministers.
Asked about reports of Mr Raab seen coughing this morning, the spokesman added: “The Foreign Secretary is fine.”
The speed of the Prime Minister’s decline has caused palpable shock at Westminster after his symptoms were previously described as “mild”.
His spokesman, however, rejected claims that No 10 had sought to hide the seriousness of his condition.
“We have been fully frank with you throughout,” the spokesman told reporters.
“We have issued you with regular updates on the Prime Minister’s health.
“His condition worsened yesterday afternoon. A decision was taken that he needed to be moved to an intensive care unit at around 7pm.
“We informed you all as soon as was practically possible. We have a commitment to be as transparent as we can be throughout this process.”