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UK PM Boris Johnson recuperates at country home with fiancee

By Aditi Khanna
April 13, 2020 17:26 IST
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on Monday recuperating from his COVID-19 hospitalisation at his country retreat of Chequers, where he has been joined by his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds.

IMAGE: A Police officer is seen outside Chequers, the PM's official country residence, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital recovering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Aylesbury, Britain. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Downing Street has said that the prime minister would not be returning to work immediately and will be based at the sprawling 1,000-acre estate in Buckinghamshire, south-east England, for a recovery period on medical advice.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab continues to deputise for Johnson as the UK entered a fourth week in lockdown on Monday and the country's total coronavirus death toll hit 10,612. UK ministers are required by law to review the strict social distancing measures by Thursday.

 

In a video message issued after his discharge from St Thomas' Hospital in London on Sunday, Johnson, 55, urged the public to continue to follow the stay-at-home advice in the ongoing 'fight we never picked against an enemy we still don't entirely understand'.

"I can only imagine how tough it has been to follow the rules on social distancing," he said.

"I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus."

He went on to credit the National Health Service (NHS) doctors and nurses with saving his life because things could have gone 'either way' after he had to be shifted to intensive care with breathing difficulties with worsening coronavirus symptoms.

"The NHS has saved my life, no question. It's hard to find the words to express my debt," said Johnson.

"We will defeat this coronavirus and defeat it together. We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love," he added.

Symonds, who is expecting the couple's first baby within weeks, has now been reunited with Johnson at Chequers and said she felt 'incredibly lucky' as she expressed her own thanks to all the well-wishers and the NHS.

"There were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones," she said.

"I cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough. The staff at St. Thomas' Hospital have been incredible. I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you," said the 32-year-old, who had also experienced symptoms of coronavirus while in self-isolation but later confirmed that she was 'on the mend'.

Johnson had been working remotely from his Downing Street flat after testing positive for coronavirus over two weeks ago, but had to be shifted to hospital as his symptoms persisted.

After his week-long stay in hospital including a few days in intensive care, he singled out for praise some 'utterly brilliant' doctors as well as a couple of nurses who stayed by his side through the worst period before his body started to get 'enough oxygen'.

"And I hope they won't mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way. They are Jenny from New Zealand -- Invercargill on the South Island to be exact -- and Luis from Portugal -- near Porto," he said.

Jenny McGee's family said that his sister, who continues to be on duty at the London hospital, was 'blown away' by Johnson's special mention.

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