UK lockdown to be reviewed in days by Cabinet as a whole, Michael Gove says

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THE UK’S lockdown will be reviewed by Cabinet ministers together in the coming days, Michael Gove has revealed.

The Cabinet minister said this morning that Government business will go on, and decisions will be made without him here if needbe.

Dominic Raab appeared to cough this morning as he left for his first meeting in charge

It comes after the PM was rushed into intensive care last night after his coronavirus condition deteriorated.

He has has oxygen support and will be near a ventilator if he needs one, getting more specialist care from an expert team at St Thomas’ in South London.

This morning there has been no update on the PM’s condition, but Michael Gove has stressed that No10 will deliver any news as and when it comes.

Before the PM was transferred last night he officially passed on responsibilities to his de facto deputy, Dominic Raab.

Foreign Secretary Mr Raab, who is also the First Secretary of State, will now run the Government and take charge of the fight against the virus.

A shocked Mr Raab said: “There’s an incredibly strong team spirit behind the Prime Minister, and making sure that we get all of the plans the Prime Minister’s instructed us to deliver to get them implemented as soon as possible.”

Mr Gove told Sky News earlier: “We are looking at the information, there will be an update next week.

“The cabinet will discuss the situation in the next few days.

“We will review the progress of the disease and the nature of the lockdown collectively as a Cabinet.

“It will be chaired by Dominic Raab as First Secretary of State.”

Britain’s lockdown, announced by Boris on March 23, was due to be reviewed on Easter Monday.

The peak of the virus is estimated to occur this weekend, it has been suggested.

But it depends on the success of the lockdown measures so far.

Last weekend Matt Hancock scolded sunbathers for risking lives by going out to sun themselves in a park – which is not one of the reasons to be out.

He even threatened a ban on exercise unless Brits bucked up, but later stressed there were no imminent plans to tighten the rules.

It’s thought that until Britain has a full testing routine in place, the lockdown won’t be able to be lifted.

After that, people who have had the virus already may be allowed to have some rules relaxed.

So far there is not yet an accurate test which can tell whether a person has had the virus already and is likely to be immune to it.

They could get a certificate or a wristband to wear outside to show they are no longer at risk.

When there is such a test which works, ministers have promised to buy millions and roll it out across the nation.

Boris Johnson was rushed to intensive care last night
Michael Gove said Cabinet would take collective decisions from now on

Mr Johnson was taken to hospital for tests on Sunday evening – after his GP saw him on a Zoom video call, the Daily Mail reports.

His condition worsened over the course of Monday, and doctors made the decision to transfer him to intensive care around 7pm.

A No 10 spokesman said “Since Sunday evening, the Prime Minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the Prime Minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.

“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, to deputise for him where necessary.

“The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.”

The news comes 11 days after Boris was diagnosed with the virus.

He had been continuing to work while isolating in his Downing St flat, but struggled to shake off his fever.

This morning Michael Gove said it was a “huge shock” that Boris’ condition had got worse.

He told Good Morning Britain:  “We are hoping and praying he pulls through.

“It was a shock yesterday to hear the news of his going into intensive care.

“All of us just want him to pull through.

“He is a big hearted, generous spirited guy, we are rooting for him.”

He insisted that the PM had wanted to keep going and working throughout his illness because “he loves this country”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “The PM loves this country, he wants to do his very, very best for us.

“That is one of the reasons why he has been sure he has been involved in all the decision making and all the meetings.”

But he stressed he has stripped back his diary in recent days and been taking all the medical advice he was given.

Any decisions that need to be taken will be done collectively in a group, he added, and the lockown would be reviewed by the team “in good time” – with or without the PM.

“As the PM’s case so powerfully reminds us, this disease can hit any of us,” he said.

He was not aware whether the PM had developed pneumonia.

This morning Boris’ former director of communications and friend, Will Walden, stressed the PM was a “really, really strong guy” and “far fitter than he looks”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He will whip anybody’s backside on a tennis court, he runs regularly, he doesn’t smoke, he drinks moderately.

“So I think if anyone is in a good position both physically and mentally to fight off the disease then the Prime Minister is that person.”

Mr Walden said he had been in touch with Mr Johnson a couple of times in the last fortnight, adding: “I had a brief exchange with him last week in which I was more concerned about him being in isolation and what he said back to me was ‘don’t worry, we’re going to beat it’.

“What he meant by that, which is typical of Boris, is we as a country will come together and beat this disease, rather than thinking about himself in regard to that – and that’s pretty typical of the man.”

 

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