Boris Johnson Makes First Appearance After COVID-19 Battle

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday made his first public appearance in nearly a month after a spell in hospital and several days in intensive care with the novel coronavirus.

In a statement outside his Downing Street office, he said Britain was “beginning to turn the tide” in tackling COVID-19 but indicated no immediate lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The British Prime Minister had on April 21 tentatively began his return to work after being hospitalised for coronavirus, as parliament returned and criticism grew over the government’s response to the outbreak.

Johnson spoke on the phone to US President Donald Trump about the international response to COVID-19, and officials said he would speak to Queen Elizabeth II in the coming days for the first time in three weeks.

However, his spokesman said the 55-year-old, who spent several days in intensive care, was not yet “formally doing government work” as he recuperated at his official countryside retreat of Chequers.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab remains in temporary charge and will take prime minister’s questions on Wednesday during a semi-virtual session of the House of Commons.

MPs returned on Tuesday from their Easter break and immediately approved new measures to allow the vast majority of the 650-seat house to stay away.

Social distancing rules mean only 50 MPs can attend safely, and Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle has instead asked MPs to dial in via Zoom, an internet video conferencing service.

Hoyle said it was a “historic moment” for the 700-year-old parliament, adding: “In times of crisis, we must find new ways of working.”