British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been shifted out of the intensive care unit (ICU) at a London hospital, where he remains under close monitoring by doctors in the early phase of his recovery after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Downing Street said Johnson, 55, is in extremely good spirits at the St Thomas’ Hospital ward as his father, Stanley Johnson, called on his son to rest up.

The Prime Minister has been moved this evening [Thursday] from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery. He is in extremely good spirits, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Thursday.

Stanley Johnson said the whole family was “tremendously grateful” that the UK prime minister had been moved out of intensive care, adding that he thinks his son’s illness has “got the whole country to realise this is a serious event”.

He must rest up, He took one for the team and we’ve got to make sure we play properly now,” he told the BBC.

Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds, took to Twitter to express her relief with a series of clapping hands emoticons alongside a picture of a rainbow, which has emerged as the symbol of support for the country’s National Health Service (NHS) through the course of the pandemic fightback.

The 32-year-old, who has been self-isolating with the couple’s dog Dilyn, had revealed her own symptoms of coronavirus last week but said she was on the mend .

According to latest UK Department of Health figures, the number of people to have died in hospital in the UK after testing positive for the novel coronavirus has risen to 7,978.

Ministers and officials urged the British public to continue to observe the strict social distancing norms over what is a long Easter holiday weekend when it is customary for people to travel and get together with their friends and families in different parts of the country.

The whole country has been practicing a stringent form of social distancing for three weeks now. Precisely because we’re doing everything we can to minimise the bleak numbers that I just read out, said UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during the daily Downing Street briefing on Thursday as he deputises for the UK PM while he is in hospital.

Now, as we look forward to the long Bank Holiday Easter weekend, I know some people are going to start wondering is it time to ease up on the rules. So I’ve got to say thank you for your sacrifice. But, also, we’re not done yet. We must keep going, he said.

While the initial 21-day semi-lockdown announced by Boris Johnson on March 23 comes to a close towards next Monday, all indications are that it would have to be further extended to continue to keep the numbers afflicted by the deadly virus manageable for the NHS to treat.

“We mustn’t give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and to hurt our country,” said Raab, as he urged people to continue to stay at home and leave only for restricted purposes of essential shopping and one form of exercise a day.

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