Experts on why Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care – and what happens now

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Mr Johnson is in intensive care (Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ hospital after having breathing difficulties this afternoon following persistent coronavirus Covid-19 symptoms.

Boris Johnson’s situation in intensive care has tonight been deemed “serious” by medical experts who have detailed the treatment he is likely to be undergoing.

The Prime Minister is understood to be conscious and was moved to the specialist unit at St Thomas’ hospital in Westminster at about 7pm tonight.

He was also given oxygen earlier this afternoon after his condition “worsened” and doctors advised he should be moved.

Microbiologist Dr Simon Clarke told Sky News: “It is serious, there is no doubt about it.

“The NHS doesn’t give up intensive care beds just for people to be looked over, even for Prime Ministers. He wouldn’t be in intensive care if he didn’t need to be at this time.”

He added that the PM’s press team should start to “level with us” about how bad his situation really is.

Dr Clarke believes the hospital will tonight most likely be ‘dampening’ Mr Johnson’s immune response as well as supporting his fluids.

Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital last night following 10 days of “persistent” coronavirus symptoms.

Dr Clarke reassured that people do recover after being in intensive care.

But he warned Covid-19 “can kill anybody.”

He added that the PM’s press team should start to “level with us” about how bad his situation really is.

Dr Clarke believes the hospital will tonight most likely be ‘dampening’ Mr Johnson’s immune response as well as supporting his fluids.

Mr Johnson was admitted to hospital last night following 10 days of “persistent” coronavirus symptoms.

Dr Clarke reassured that people do recover after being in intensive care.

But he warned Covid-19 “can kill anybody.”

“It just goes to show how serious this is and how people can take a turn for the worst,” he continued.

Mr Johnson is being cared for at St Thomas’s Hospital
Mr Johnson is being cared for at St Thomas’s Hospital (Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

“We saw him up and about on his feet and now he’s in a condition that requires him to be in intensive care.

“(St Thomas’s) It has some of the finest facilities in the UK, it’s one of the country’s leading teaching hospitals, it will have a very good set of intensive care medics working in that intensive care unit. He will be in incredibly good care.”

Asked about the prognosis he added: “It’s impossible to say….it’s obviously a turn for the worst.

“Some people come out of intensive care, it is not the end of things.

“People do recover but it’s a pretty brutal treatment regime.

“Anybody who has been in hospital and who has taken a turn for the worst and has ended up in intensive care usually ends up having to take things easy for a while…”

Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago
Boris Johnson tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago (Image: PA)

Dr Kishan Rees also told Sky News: “If the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on an intensive care unit, albeit for monitoring at the moment, is not a powerful warning shot then I’m lost for words as to what is.

“It does sound like he hasn’t been incubated which is a good thing and we wish him well.

“He will be on an intensive care unit because that allows for a far higher degree of monitoring in terms of the body’s physiology.A Flourish chart

“There is also one-to-one nursing, there’s a very close eye from a medical point of view.

“They can really monitor his observations, his temperature, his blood pressure, his heart rate, his oxygen sat.

“The really scary thing with this is there’s a balancing act we don’t want to scare members of the public and we don’t want them to panic but this disease affects people in very different ways.

Dominic Raab has been instructed to stand in for the Prime Minister when needed (Image: WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

“This is a serious disease…if the Prime Minister is in an intensive care unit, albeit not ventilated, which is obviously reassuring…this should serve as a warning shot.”

Prof Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging, University College London (UCL), said it was “very likely” Mr Johnson would be put on a mechanical ventilator in intensive care.

He said: “It seems clear that the Prime Minister went to hospital because he had difficulty breathing. It seems he was initially put on oxygen, and was conscious.

“But as often happens with Covid-19, his condition has now deteriorated so he has been admitted to intensive care where he is very likely to have been put on a mechanical ventilator to breath for him.”

Dr Hill added: “It isn’t yet clear whether Boris Johnson is breathing on his own – with help from the ventilator. Or whether he has been heavily sedated and paralysed and the machine is doing all the breathing for him.”

The Prime Minister, pictured last Thursday, is in intensive care, Downing Street confirmed (Image: PA)

In a statement, a Number 10 spokesman said: “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.”