LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson must be allowed to "rest up" before getting back to work after he was moved out of intensive care for coronavirus to a regular hospital ward, the British leader's father said in an interview on Friday.
Johnson's 79-year-old father Stanley said he felt "tremendously grateful obviously on behalf of the family, Boris’s family, my family, family members all over the place, and also, of course, amazingly thankful as well" for his son's improving condition.
"Relief is the right word," he said in a BBC radio interview.
But he warned that his son needed a period of recuperation before returning to work.
"He has to take time. I cannot believe you can walk away from this and get straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment," he said.
Johnson is the first major world leader known to have contracted coronavirus. In a series of video messages he published on social media before he was admitted to the hospital with the illness, Johnson appeared increasingly unwell as he carried on the work of government in isolation at his official residence and office at Downing Street.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening, his office said that Johnson, 55, had been been transferred from an intensive care unit back to the ward "where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery."
Johnson is being cared for in St Thomas' Hospital in central London. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26 and still had a cough and fever 10 days later.
He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday, and to its ICU on Monday.
Carrie Symonds, Johnson’s pregnant fiancee, who also suffered a bout of suspected coronavirus, responded to the news of Johnson's improving health on Thursday by posting a child's painting of a rainbow on Twitter alongside a series of clapping emojis to show support for Britain's frontline National Health Service medical workers.
"Great News," President Donald Trump tweeted shortly after Downing Street's Thursday announcement. "Get well Boris!!!
Britain's death toll reached 7,978 as of Thursday, according to Public Health England, an increase of 881 from 24 hours earlier.