LONDON, April 5 (CGTN) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus, though Downing Street said he remained in charge of the government.
Johnson, who was isolating in 10 Downing Street after testing positive last month, still had a high temperature and his doctors felt he should go to hospital for tests in what the government said was a "precautionary step."
"On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests," his office said in a statement. Johnson is expected to stay overnight.
"This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus," the statement added.
News of his hospitalization came only after an hour after Queen Elizabeth delivered a rallying call to the British public saying they would overcome the coronavirus outbreak if they stayed resolute.
Downing Street underscored that this was not an emergency admission and that Johnson remains in charge of the government. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will chair the government's emergency COVID-19 meeting on Monday, a source said.
Johnson, 55, the first leader of a major power to announce that he had tested positive, won a resounding election victory in December before leading the United Kingdom out of the European Union on January 31. But he has faced criticism in the United Kingdom for initially approving a much more modest response to the novel coronavirus outbreak than other major European leaders.
He then changed tack when scientific projections showed a quarter of a million people could die in the United Kingdom. Johnson effectively shuttered the world's fifth-largest economy, advising people to stay at home and the elderly or infirm to isolate themselves for weeks. But the virus penetrated the British government.
Johnson and his health minister tested positive last month and his chief medical adviser also self isolated. Johnson's pregnant 32-year-old fiancee, Carrie Symonds, also had symptoms but said on Saturday she was feeling better.
From an apartment above Number 11 Downing Street, Johnson continued to lead the government's response and chaired meetings via video conference.
"Although I'm feeling better and I've done my seven days of isolation, alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom, I still have a temperature," the Prime Minister, sitting in a chair, said in a Twitter video message on Friday.
He was taken to an unidentified hospital on Sunday evening. Experts said the most likely tests for a person of the prime minister's age with COVID-19 symptoms after 10 days would be to assess oxygen levels, blood pressure, and an electrocardiogram check of his heart. Other tests could include a CT scan of the chest to get an accurate picture of the lungs.
"The prime minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the government's advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives," Downing Street said.
The United Kingdom's death toll from the coronavirus has risen to 4,943, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center of Johns Hopkins University. As of 0800 GMT, a total of 195,524 people had been tested of whom 47,806 tested positive.