British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains “in good spirits” as he is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance, his spokesperson has said.
His spokesperson told newsmen at a briefing on Tuesday in London that the condition of the prime minister was stable.
“The prime minister has been ”stable” overnight and remains “in good spirits”; he has not required mechanical ventilation, or non-invasive respiratory support,” the spokesman said.
Johnson’s personal battle with the virus has shaken the government just as the UK, now in its third week of virtual lockdown, enters what scientists say will be the most deadly phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital across the River Thames from parliament late on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature and a cough, for more than 10 days.
However, his condition rapidly deteriorated over the next 24 hours, and he was moved on Monday to an intensive care unit, where the most serious cases are treated, in case he needed to be put on a ventilator. He was still conscious, his office said.
But the absence of Johnson, the first leader of a major power to be hospitalised after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, has raised questions about who is truly in charge of the world’s fifth largest economy at such a crucial time.
While Britain has no formal succession plan should a prime minister become incapacitated, Johnson asked Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, 46, to deputise for him “where necessary”, Downing Street said.
At the moment, Raab is presiding over cabinet meetings and also overseeing the nation’s fight against the coronavirus, while Johnson is fighting for his own life.
Johnson, however, is still in charge of the government and is issuing directions when needed, according to a cabinet statement.
If Raab is incapacitated, Finance Secretary, Rishi Sunak, would take on those responsibilities.
Queen Elizabeth wished Johnson a “full and speedy recovery” and sent a message of support to his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds, and his family. Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, wished Johnson a speedy recovery.
World leaders have expressed their support for the British PM, wishing him a speedy recovery, with U.S. President Donald Trump even saying he has asked American pharma companies to help British medics in Johnson’s treatment.
In the meantime, the UK has reported over 51,000 cases of COVID-19, and the death toll in the country has reached 5,373.
In Nigeria, the Katsina State Government has confirmed the death of a medical doctor, Dr Aliyu Yakubu, affected by the virus.
The deceased, aged 60, died at the Nigeria Air Force Reference Hospital, Daura.
Governor Aminu Masari, who made the disclosure at a press conference on Tuesday in Katsina, said that the deceased, owned a private hospital in Daura and had visited his home state, Kogi, from where he travelled to Lagos some weeks ago.
Masari said that after returning to the state, the deceased fell sick and was admitted at the hospital, where he died three days ago.
According to him, the deceased samples were taken to the Nigeria Centre for Decease Control (NCDC) for diagnosis before his death and was diagnosed positive for Coronavirus.
“We have received a bad news of COVID-19. The deceased samples showed COVID-19 positive.
“Before his death, he was also diagnosed for hepatitis and hypertension, three years ago,” he said.
The governor said that the state medical response team was in Daura taking samples of all those that had contact with the man before his death.
The Lagos State government, on Tuesday, announced the discharge of another female patient, who had tested negative twice for Coronavirus.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement in Lagos that the total number of patients discharged was now 32.
”It is with joy and gratitude to the Almighty that I announce the discharge of yet another patient (a female), who has fully recovered from our facility at Yaba.
”This brings to 32, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged in Lagos.
”I look forward to sharing more great news in the coming days. This is indicative of the successes we are recording in our offensive against the infection.
”We are resolute; we have the upper hand; we are winning and victory is surely ours,” the governor said.
In the United States (U.S.), New York, on Tuesday, announced the death of 731 more people from the novel coronavirus disease, representing the largest single-day increase in deaths since the crisis began.
Briefing newsmen, overnor Andrew Cuomo gave the new death toll as 5,489, up by 731 from 4,758 on Monday morning.
The latest fatality figure has dampened rising spirits, following a drop in the numbers below 600 two days before.
According to the governor, statewide confirmed cases also rose by 8,147 from 130,689 on Monday morning to 138,836 on Tuesday.
The number of people hospitalised also increased from 16,837 on Monday to 17,493 as of Tuesday morning, representing a difference of 656.
Cuomo said the number of patients on intensive care also rose, by 89 from 4,504 on Monday morning to 4,593 as of Tuesday morning.
New York accounts for not less than 40 per cent of the U.S. coronavirus deaths, which stood at 11,018 by Tuesday.
Meanwhile, World Athletics has suspended the qualification period for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games from April 6 until November 30, 2020.
According to a statement on the website of the world athletics governing body, the decision followed consultation with its Athletes’ Commission, Area Presidents and Council.
The statement added that during this period, results achieved at any competition would not be considered for Tokyo 2020 entry standards or world rankings, the publication of which will also be suspended.
”Results will continue to be recorded for statistical purposes, including for world records, subject to the applicable conditions, but they will not be used to establish an athlete’s qualification status.
”Subject to the global situation returning to normal, the qualification period will resume on Dec. 1, 2020 and continue to the new qualification deadline in 2021 set by the International Olympic Committee.
”The total qualification period, which started in 2019, will be four months longer than it was originally,” the statement read.
The statement quoted World Athletics President Sebastian Coe as saying he was grateful for the detailed work and feedback from the Athletes’ Commission and Council.
”They believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation.
”They also think it is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions,” Coe said.
The statement, however, noted that athletes, who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified.
”But they will be eligible for selection by their respective Member Federations and National Olympic Committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period.
The end of the Olympic qualification periods are May 31, 2021 (for 50km race walk and marathon) and June 29, 2021 for all other events,” the statement read.
The 2020 Olympics Games earlier scheduled to hold between July 24 and August 9, 2020 has been rescheduled to hold from July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
In Oyo State, elders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have thrown their weights behind Governor Seyi Makinde on measures being put in place to prevent the spread of the virus in the state.
The elders, who spoke through a statement signed by Dr. Saka Balogun, a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, following a meeting in which they adhered to the directives of the state government on social distancing, expressed their support for Makinde’s decision not to totally lockdown the state in his efforts to contain the spread of the novel COVID-19.
The elders expressed the conviction that a total lockdown of the state in the present circumstance would have put the citizens in panic mode and heightened social tension, as it is happening in some areas in Lagos, Bauchi and Ogun states respectively.
The statement read: “The Oyo State PDP elders commend the proactive and systematic measures put in place so far by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde in containing the disease. These measures are already yielding positive results, as a number of new positive cases has only increased by two in the last one week, this is at variance with greater number of cases in other states that enforced total lockdown.
“Also, the fears being expressed by some cynics that there are more suspected cases than those already reported are based on mere conjectures without any scientific proof, and this cannot be a reasonable excuse for a total lockdown and its unintended consequences as they are advocating.”
The elders maintained the level of literacy among the populace coupled with the increased public awareness being presently pursued by Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force as well as the distribution of sanitisers by the political class and government, will go a long way in reducing community transmission of the disease.
The PDP elders, who urged the government to provide more testing centres in the state with adequate personnel and equipment, and also provide more functioning isolation centres, advised government to ensure that contacts of those who have tested positive are assured of adequate care and provision of palliatives in order to encourage them to come out for testing and care.
The elders further urged the government to reach out to retired medical personnel to register as volunteers to be trained in readiness for any emergency escalation of the pandemic, while also calling on corporate organizations and good-spirited people to support government with funds and materials.
In attendance at the meeting were Mogaji Nureni Akanbi, Asiwaju J.G. Adetoro, Chief Bayo Okeyode, Otunba Gbola Adetunji and Femi Babalola.