British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his gratitude to the staff of the National Health Service (NHS) for saving his life when his experience with the coronavirus could have “gone either way” as the UK on Sunday became the fourth European country to surpass 10,000 virus-related deaths.
The UK became the fourth European country after Italy, Spain and France to reach the grim milestone of 10,000 deaths from Covid-19.
The government said another 737 people who tested positive had died, taking the total number of virus deaths recorded in the UK to 10,612. The figure reported on Sunday represented a second straight daily decline in the number of reported deaths.
Earlier, Johnson was moved from St Thomas’ Hospital in London to the country house of Chequers in Buckinghamshire to rest and recuperate from Covid-19 even as a senior government adviser admitted Britain could have the worst death rate in Europe.
Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told the BBC, “The numbers in the UK have continued to go up. I do hope we’re coming close to the number of new infections reducing… and the number of deaths plateauing and starting to come down. And yes, the UK is likely to be certainly one of the worst, if not the worst affected country in Europe.”
In his first statement after emerging from ICU, Johnson thanked doctors, saying, “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”
A Downing Street spokesman later said, “The PM has been discharged from hospital to continue his recovery, at Chequers. On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work.”
The UK parliament is due to reopen virtually on April 21. In an optimistic Easter message to the country, Queen Elizabeth said, “Coronavirus will not overcome us…We need Easter as much as ever…As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater.”
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