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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the staff of the National Health Service as he left St Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday after a week of treatment for the coronavirus. “I have today left hospital after a week in which the NHS has saved my life, no question,” he said in a five-minute video message posted on Twitter. Johnson specifically thanked two nurses—Jenny from New Zealand and Luis from Portugal—for watching over him for 48 hours “when things could have gone either way.” Johnson said that “the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”
Johnson was taken to the hospital last Sunday and was moved into intensive care Monday night. He was never put on a ventilator but received “standard oxygen treatment.” Johnson was taken out of intensive care on Thursday.
Johnson will now continue his recovery at Chequers, which is the prime minister’s country house. “On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work,” Johnson’s office said in a statement. “He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.” Johnson’s pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds, sent a series of tweets in which she said she “cannot thank our magnificent NHS enough.”
As Johnson continues recovering, other members of his government are under increasing pressure to explain why the death toll in the country is increasing so quickly, as the United Kingdom on Sunday became the fourth European country to pass the 10,000 mark for deaths related to COVID-19. On Friday the country’s death toll was 980, which surpassed the highest number of deaths in a single day in Italy. Johnson continued urging everyone to follow social distancing guidelines. “I want you to know that this Easter Sunday I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth,” he said. “Because although we mourn every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and though the struggle is by no means over, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus.”