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Raab to deputise for “as long as is necessary” while Prime Minister remains in intensive care

By Gareth Jones
07 April 2020

By Gareth Jones, Associate Partner

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab began today’s government press conference with an update on the condition of the Prime Minister, who was admitted into intensive care last night. Raab stated that Boris Johnson remains in intensive care, but remains stable – not requiring ventilation and "receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any assistance". He added that he remains in good spirits and his progress continues to be monitored closely.

Raab said the Prime Minister has asked him to deputise for him "as long as is necessary" while he recovers, having given him clear instructions, adding that everyone in Cabinet knows what is expected. When Raab was questioned about his level of his authority and whether he would be making potentially big upcoming decisions (for example, extending the lockdown), Raab did not answer the questions directly, but stated that the government would be guided by the evidence on the impact of the lockdown measures before considering action required for the next phase, but the number one priority at present was to keep the discipline in place on the current measures.

Raab confirmed the total number of deaths in the UK has now reached 6,159. At 786 deaths in the past 24 hours, this represents the biggest daily increase in deaths, although the growth rate was now at its slowest and there was no significant acceleration in the number of cases. Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific adviser set out further updates on UK transport activity, confirmed cases and hospital admissions – noting that new UK deaths should fall around two weeks after the number of people in intensive care starts to fall.