The former Conservative Party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, readdressed concerns that some of the public isn’t taking the social distancing measures into account when people were photographed sunbathing last weekend. He urged people to stick to them to beat the coronavirus pandemic after Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital on Monday evening as what was said to be a “precaution” in case he needed to be put on a ventilator. The senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove said that he had received “oxygen support” but was not on a ventilator.
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Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Sir Iain said: “The rules we set out which are staying at home and helping the NHS to save lives are critical if we’re going to beat this.
“I hope people who wandered out the other day to have barbecues and things will really think about this carefully and recognise actually this is serious, really serious.
“If the most powerful man in Britain can come down with this so can you.
“Please stick to those guidelines.”
In Mr Johnson’s absence, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State is standing in for him “where necessary”.
The deterioration in the Prime Minister’s condition comes at a critical moment in the coronavirus crisis, the epidemic is expected to reach its peak in the UK in the coming days.
There was a palpable sense shock at Westminster and beyond at the speed of his apparent decline following his admission to hospital on Sunday.
Downing Street said at the time the move was a “precautionary step” as his symptoms of a cough and high temperature were continuing to persist after 10 days in self-isolation.
Initially, he was said to have been continuing to work from his hospital bed and that he was receiving his ministerial red boxes.
But by 7pm on Monday the decision was made to transfer him to intensive care so that a ventilator was close at hand if required.
The Cabinet was informed shortly afterwards and the move was made public in an announcement by No 10 shortly after 8pm.
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Mr Gove said that he was receiving the “very, very best care” and insisted that the government machine was continuing to function.
Mr Gove told LBC: “We’re all working together to implement the plan the Prime Minister set out in order to try to ensure that we can marshal all the resources of government, indeed all the resources of our country, in the fight against this invisible enemy,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“The work of Government goes on.
“We have a superb civil service and they have ensured that the machinery is there for decisions to be made by ministers, by medical and scientific experts and for those decisions to be followed through in a way which enables us to help those at the frontline.”
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