KEY POINTS

  • Downing Street on Sunday confirmed U.K. PM Boris Johnson has "been admitted to hospital for tests"
  • Johnson was moved into ICU a few hours later
  • CNN's Dr. Gupta says the primary reason for this move is if needs a breathing support

The prognosis for COVID-19 infected British prime minister Boris Johnson doesn't seem positive after he was quickly moved to a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) on Sunday, only three hours after being admitted for routine tests meant to determine why he wasn’t recovering from the disease.

Johnson was confirmed positive with SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the virus that causes COVID-19, on March 27. He entered self-quarantine at 11 Downing Street, the prime minister's residence, along with his pregnant girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, who now shows clear symptoms of the disease.

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital, which lies across Westminster Bridge from 10 Downing Street, at about 8:00 p.m., British Time, Sunday. He was moved into the hospital ICU about three hours later as a precaution should doctors decide to place him on a mechanical ventilator (or a breathing machine).

News from international media outlets about the possibility of Johnson going on a ventilator is raising fears about the real possibility of Johnson succumbing to the disease. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said 80% of COVID-19 patients in his state that were intubated (or attached to a ventilator) died. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said the primary reason Johnson would be sent to an ICU is if he needed breathing support.

With Johnson's condition taking a turn for the worse, it's to be expected the government will soon confirm Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and first secretary of state, as acting prime minister. Raab, who is currently the de facto deputy, will take charge of government should Johnson prove incapable of fulfilling the duties of prime minister. He led the Cabinet's weekly pandemic meeting on Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tested positive for the new coronavirus on March 27 Prime Minister Boris Johnson said tested positive for the new coronavirus on March 27 Photo: 10 Downing Street / -

On Sunday, Johnson's spokesperson said the prime minister had a "comfortable" night at the hospital and was in "good spirits." On the other hand, some of Johnson's allies no longer describe his symptoms as mild.

Johnson, 55, was to have left self-isolation on April 3. Downing Street previously issued a statement denying Johnson is seriously ill.

"On the advice of his doctor, the prime minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests," said a statement from Downing Street. "This is a precautionary step, as the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus 10 days after testing positive for the virus.”

Downing Street kept emphasizing the hospital confinement isn't an emergency admission. It also said Johnson will remain in charge of the government.