Boris Johnson’s coronavirus timeline
Boris Johnson has returned to Downing Street after spending two weeks at his country retreat Chequers while recovering from Covid-19.
The Prime Minister is due to resume work on Monday and will chair the morning meeting of the Government’s coronavirus “war cabinet”.
Here is a timeline of Mr Johnson’s battle with the virus – from “mild symptoms” to a week in hospital.
– March 3
The Prime Minister tells a press conference: “I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands.”
– March 27
Mr Johnson reveals he has tested positive for Covid-19. Downing Street says he noticed mild symptoms the previous afternoon and received the test results at midnight.
In a video message on Twitter, he says: “I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.
“But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also announces he had tested positive for Covid-19, while chief medical officer Chris Whitty says he has symptoms of the disease and is self-isolating.
Some question why the PM had adopted a business-as-usual approach to governing after putting the rest of the UK on lockdown, with Mr Johnson accused of not following his own advice.
The House of Commons continued to sit, with Cabinet meetings and daily press briefings held in person throughout the first weeks of March.
– March 30
Number 10 confirms Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, is self-isolating after developing coronavirus-like symptoms.
– March 31
Mr Johnson tweets an image of the first Cabinet meeting conducted entirely online.
– April 2
The PM comes out of self-isolation for a brief appearance at the door of No 11 Downing Street to join in the mass clapping for key workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
He tells those gathered outside: “I am not allowed out really, I am just standing here.”
– April 3
Mr Johnson is seen in a video urging people to stay home and not break social distancing rules as the weather warms up, even if they were going “a bit stir crazy”.
– April 4
Mr Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, 32, says she is “on the mend” after suffering coronavirus symptoms.
Shortly after the PM’s announcement on March 27, Ms Symonds – who usually lives with him in the No 11 flat – shares a photograph of herself self-isolating in Camberwell, south London, with the couple’s dog Dilyn.
– April 5
Downing Street says Mr Johnson has been admitted to a London NHS hospital for tests as a “precautionary step” as his coronavirus symptoms persisted.
– April 6
Mr Johnson tweets: “Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.
“I’d like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain.
“Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
Just hours later, Downing Street says the Prime Minister’s condition had worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he haa been moved to St Thomas’ Hospital’s intensive care unit.
– April 7
Downing Street says the PM’s condition remains “stable” and he is in “good spirits” following his first night in intensive care, but he would need to remain there for “close monitoring”.
However, concerns are raised over how many decisions his deputy Dominic Raab is allowed to make as the Foreign Secretary suggested that the scheduled review of the nation’s lockdown restrictions would now not go ahead.
Downing Street later confirms the review would take place after the three-week mark originally committed to by the PM.
– April 8
The Prime Minister was said to be “responding to treatment” after a second night in intensive care.
Downing Street says he remains in a stable condition.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak later told the daily coronavirus press briefing that Mr Johnson was still in intensive care, but had been sitting up in bed and engaging with his clinical team.
– April 9
After spending a “good night” in intensive care, Downing Street says the Prime Minister’s condition “continues to improve”.
At the daily coronavirus press briefing, Mr Raab, who earlier chaired a meeting of the Cobra committee, says he had not spoken to the Prime Minister since taking over his responsibilities.
“We in the Government have got this covered,” Mr Raab says, adding: “I’ve got all the authority I need to make the relevant decisions – whether it’s through chairing Cabinet updates, chairing Cobra, or indeed the morning meetings of senior ministers.”
Later in the day, Downing Street says Mr Johnson had been moved from intensive care back to the ward at St Thomas’.
– April 10
The Prime Minister continues to recover in hospital, with Downing Street saying he is now able to do “short walks” between rests.
However, Downing Street does not confirm how long Mr Johnson is expected to remain in hospital.
– April 11
Downing Street says the PM “continues to make very good progress.”
Later, Mr Johnson thanks NHS staff at St Thomas’ for saving his life, saying in a short statement: “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”
– April 12
Mr Johnson is discharged from hospital and will continue his recovery at Chequers, where he will be taking a break from work, a Downing Street spokesman confirms.
Mr Johnson’s fiancee Carrie Symonds says she “cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough”, adding there had been times in the past week that had been “very dark indeed”.
She tweets: “My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.”
Speaking in a video released shortly after he was discharged from hospital, Mr Johnson thanks the NHS – saying there was a 48-hour period when things “could have gone either way”.
Dr Ian Abbs, chief executive at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, pays tribute to the medical staff who cared for the Prime Minister, and reiterates the Government’s message to “stay home to help us save lives and protect the NHS”.
– April 14
Key aide Mr Cummings returns to Downing Street following his recovery from suspected coronavirus.
– April 20
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman says that Mr Johnson is receiving daily updates on the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, but is not working.
“He has been receiving updates on the coronavirus response, and he has spoken with the First Secretary of State, as well as senior members of his Number 10 team,” the spokesman told a Westminster briefing.
– April 21
In a phone call with US President Donald Trump from his Chequers country retreat, Mr Johnson says he is “feeling better”.
The White House reveals that Mr Johnson “shared that he is feeling better and on the road to recovery” during the call.
In a sign the PM is making a gradual return to work, Downing Street says the two leaders discussed the need for an international response to the pandemic and a post-Brexit trade deal.
– April 23
Mr Johnson holds a telephone audience with the Queen from Chequers, in his first conversation with the monarch in three weeks.
– April 26
The Prime Minister returns to Downing Street after recovering from Covid-19 at his country home Chequers.