Britain’s Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday and take charge of the U.K.’s handling of the pandemic, a month after he was struck down by the coronavirus.
The government has been without a leader since the prime minister was admitted to a London hospital on April 5.
Since being released he’s been slowly easing his way back, holding daily video calls with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his Downing Street team, and speaking to his key medical advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance.
“The PM has been doing all the right things and following his doctor’s advice to come back to work,” a Downing Street official said. “He is raring to go.”
Johnson’s return comes at another critical juncture for the government, which has found itself on the defensive since the COVID-19 crisis began. The country’s death toll, from hospitals only, has topped 20,000, the fifth highest in the world, and business has slowed to a crawl.
Bank of England Gov. Andrew Bailey, in an editorial to the mass-circulation Sun newspaper on Saturday, sought to explain how the central bank was supporting the economy.
There’s some evidence that Johnson’s experience in St. Thomas’ Hospital — he was admitted to the intensive care unit, and credited the staff there with saving his life — has made him less gung-ho in his attitude to the virus.
When some European countries were beginning lockdown procedures in mid-March, Johnson said at the time that such a reaction was unnecessary.
Fast forward a few weeks, and he’s said to be particularly cautious about whether lifting social distancing measures would risk a second wave of the virus at a time daily cases have leveled off and deaths have started to decline.
According to the Telegraph newspaper, travelers arriving in Britain will be placed in quarantine for up to two weeks under a plan being overseen by Home Secretary Priti Patel.
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