The prime minister is “receiving the best care” after spending the night in intensive care, Michael Gove has told Sky News.
The Cabinet Office minister said Boris Johnson “has not been on a ventilator” but has received “oxygen support” – in a separate interview earlier with LBC.
Mr Johnson spent the night in intensive care after his symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, worsened and he suffered breathing difficulties.
The PM was initially admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday evening, but his health deteriorated yesterday.
The precautionary decision to move him to intensive care was taken on the advice of his medical team.
Mr Gove said Mr Johnson was being kept “under close supervision” and added: “By being in intensive care if there is further support he needs it is there at hand.
“But the prime minister has not been on a ventilator.”
It is understood he remained conscious at the time of the announcement and was moved to intensive care as a precaution should he require ventilation to aid his recovery.
The Cabinet Office minister told Sky News that Mr Johnson has given his ministers “clear instructions about what he wants us to do” in his absence.
Downing Street will be issuing updates “throughout the day”, Mr Gove added.
And he said the fact that the PM is in intensive care “emphasises the importance” of Britons following the rules of the coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Gove said that while “nobody likes the lockdown”, “the fact the PM and others are in a serious condition as a result of this disease emphasises the importance of making sure we all do everything we can.”
He told Sky News that the government will review the lockdown – and whether to relax or rescind its restrictions – at a cabinet meeting next week.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been asked to deputise for Mr Johnson where necessary, will chair that meeting, Mr Gove added.
“We’ll review the evidence that’s in front of us and take an appropriate decision.”
Mr Raab chaired the government’s coronavirus “war cabinet” that meets daily at 9.15am. This week’s regular Tuesday meeting of the full cabinet has been cancelled.