Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital today a coronavirus battle that took him to ‘death’s door’.
Downing Street confirmed this afternoon that he had been released from St Thomas’s Hospital in central London, after being admitted last Sunday.
His time in the care of the NHS included three nights in intensive care receiving oxygen treatment at a tense nation waited for news of his condition.
Mr Johnson, 55, will now head to his official country residence of Chequers in Buckinghamshire to rest, with a spokesman saying that ‘on the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work’.
As his release was revealed, his pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, 32, tweeted her praise for staff at St Thomas’s, adding: ‘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.
‘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.’
Because the PM will need time to recover, it means that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is likely to remain in day-to-day charge of running the Government, for the time being at least.
It came as friends revealed how close the Prime Minister had been to death.
They relayed a message from the premier who said he owed his life to the NHS medics and added: ‘I can’t thank them enough.’
Indeed, a delighted member of his family likened the recovery to a biblical resurrection, and upon hearing he had been discharged from critical care made a timely Easter allusion, saying: ‘He is risen’.
When ‘the boss’ was first moved into intensive care on Monday night, cabinet colleagues took to the airwaves to assure the stricken PM would pull through and hailed him a ‘fighter’.
But behind closed doors, his team of ministers and advisers exchanged private calls where they were forced to swallow the grim reality that the PM’s chances were on a knife-edge at ’50-50′.
Crushed aides who eulogise Mr Johnson as the glue binding together a tight-knit Downing Street team were even moved to prayers.
After three nail-biting nights, they finally celebrated as the physically drained but ‘euphoric’ PM was released from intensive care and moved back into a general care ward.
The hospitalisation of the country’s head of government hammered home the indiscriminate nature of the virus and shook ministers to the core.
One cabinet member told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It took us all by surprise. We all think we’re sort of invincible.’
Devouring his Tintin books which tell the adventures of a Belgian journalist – Mr Johnson made his name as a correspondent in Brussels – the PM is thankfully on the road to recovery and is being boosted by scans of his unborn baby sent by his fiancée Carrie Symonds.
Number 10 advisers have now reportedly turned their attention to how to tell their determined boss he needs time to recover.
‘It will have been a shock and hopefully enough to convince him that he needs to take it easy,’ a source told the Sunday Times.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is likely to continue deputising for the PM and will hold on to the reins of government as the UK’s epidemic reaches its peak.
The death toll is today expected to reach the grim 10,000-death milestone after a further 979 coronavirus deaths were announced yesterday, bringing the total in the UK to 9,937.
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