Boris Johnson’s half-brother criticizes PM’s treatment before hospital

Coronavirus

The half-brother of Boris Johnson has criticized the medical treatment the UK Prime Minister received before he was admitted to hospital suffering from coronavirus last week.

The PM announced he tested positive for the novel coronavirus on March 27. He said he was experiencing “mild symptoms” and would continue leading the country — while self-isolating in his apartment in Downing Street. But 10 days later, the Downing Street announced the 55-year-old was not getting better and was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. He was moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) the next day after his condition deteriorated.

“From what I gather — and I wasn’t there — no one asked a doctor to mask up and physically examine him the whole time — more than 10 days,” Max Johnson said about the time his brother spent in self-isolation.

The PM spent three nights in intensive care and received “standard oxygen treatment,” according to his spokesman, but did not require mechanical or invasive ventilation.

In a statement to CNN, Max Johnson said that while he was grateful for the care his brother received from the National Health Service, he wasn’t pleased with the events leading up to his hospitalization.

“He’d tested positive so there was no doubt what he was dealing with. The word ‘shambles’ comes to mind,” Johnson said. “What’s the point of bodyguards when you can’t have a doctor? The Office of Prime Minister needs better protection.”

In response to Max Johnson’s comments, Downing Street described the Prime Minister’s health as a “private matter” adding it would be “inaccurate” to suggest Boris Johnson hadn’t been physically examined by a doctor before entering hospital.

Officials around the PM have expressed gratitude for all the care he’s had from his National Health Service doctors.

Johnson was moved out of the ICU on Thursday night. On Friday, a spokesperson said the Prime Minister was “able to do short walks” in between periods of rest, and waved his thanks to staff.

He “is in extremely good spirits,” the spokesperson added.

Max Johnson said he was “massively relieved” by his brother’s recovery, adding he hoped the PM would take time off to fully recover.

The strength with which Covid-19 struck the Prime Minister surprised many in the UK. Johnson is known for his lively persona, so the idea of the PM being incapacitated shook the nation. Well-wishes poured in from across the political scene, with even some of Johnson’s old foes expressing their hope he’d recover swiftly.

Meanwhile, those leading the country’s coronavirus response team said Johnson’s hospitalization was a reminder of just how indiscriminate the virus can be and urged Brits to resist the good weather over the Easter weekend and stay at home.

As of Saturday, 9,875 people have died the UK after testing positive for coronavirus, according to a tally by the Department of Health and Social Care. Nearly 79,000 people have have tested positive.

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