British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to the intensive care unit as his Coronavirus symptoms worsened. Just last week, Johnson announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but would continue to deal with the national crisis while in isolation. Messages coming from the government suggest that he is in contact with his cabinet and that, for now, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will be “standing in.”
The outpouring of affection from a nation that recently installed Johnson in a landslide victory reflects something rarely seen in modern politics: genuine concern. Yet the British public has not only the fate of their elected leader to worry about but also the future of their country.
A COVID-19 Battle
Johnson tweeted early on April 6:
“Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”
Throughout the crisis, despite his own illness, Johnson appeared a man possessed in terms of his work ethic. Many with the virus have fought it through rest and sleep; not so for the man tasked with guiding the country through its darker hours.
A statement from 10 Downing Street outlined the PM’s situation:
“The prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St. Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus.
“Over the course of [Monday] afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”
A Dangerous Time
Politicians rarely let a crisis go to waste, and the political chatter is already in the wind. Opposition leaders all have sent their best wishes, yet there is an undercurrent of opportunism that will boil to the surface soon enough. There are whispers in Westminster that those who fought against Brexit may attempt to extend the transition period.
As of today, Britain is due to leave the European Union on Dec. 31; if an extension is to be asked for, it must be requested by June. Already, E.U. leaders and bureaucrats have hinted that, due to the Coronavirus, now would be an inopportune time to leave the Union and that an extension should be sought. The flies have begun to gather, and pressure on the government will be enormous.
Johnson was the man who promised to end the Brexit deadlock. Can his finest victory – so far – be taken away from both him and the British people? Watch the skies for vultures.
Read more from Mark Angelides.