Boris Johnson may be out of commission for months

If it became clear Johnson could not return to his job, the remaining Cabinet ministers would be expected to choose a successor.

By World Israel News Staff

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may not be able to return to work for one to two months, scientists say. The Daily Mail reports that experts say he will have to go through a “period of inactivity.”

They say he will be physically exhausted from battling the disease and will need a period of rest.

Johnson is in intensive care and receiving oxygen, though not actually hooked up to a ventilator, at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.

The Mail notes that survivors have described the “energy-sapping disease” and the “horrendous” road to recovery.

The World Health Organization says preliminary data suggests mild cases recover in approximately two weeks and patients with severe or critical disease in 3-to-6 weeks.

Johnson’s symptoms have been described as moderate but persistent. His fever and cough have lasted for 10 days. He was admitted to the hospital late Sunday. He’s the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has temporarily taken over many of the prime minister’s duties to lead the country’s response to the pandemic while Johnson is being treated.

At a news conference, Raab said the government’s thoughts were with Johnson’s family and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant and is herself recovering from coronavirus symptoms.

“He is not just the prime minister. For all of us in Cabinet, he is not just our boss. He’s also a colleague and he’s also our friend,” Raab said.

“And I’m confident he’ll pull through because if there’s one thing I know about this prime minister, he’s a fighter.”

The deterioration of Johnson’s health took many in Britain by surprise. On Monday afternoon, he tweeted that he was in good spirits and thanked the National Health Service for taking care of him and others with the disease.

“It was a shock yesterday to hear the news of his going into intensive care,” said Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who is in isolation at home after a family member showed mild coronavirus symptoms.

“All of us just want him to pull through — he is the leader of our country. He is a big-hearted, generous-spirited guy. who believes in public service. We are rooting for him.”

The government faced calls Tuesday to be more transparent about Johnson’s condition amid concerns it had underplayed how serious it was.

It’s not common for details about the health of British prime ministers to be made public, except at times of crisis. Even then, information has sometimes been scanty. When Winston Churchill suffered a debilitating stroke in 1953, the government kept it secret until Churchill recovered.

Johnson delegating Raab to fill in for him clarifies things for now, but it does not mean he would automatically take over permanently should a new leader be needed.

If it became clear Johnson could not return to his job, the remaining Cabinet ministers would be expected to choose a successor. The governing Conservative Party would also hold a leadership contest to replace Johnson as party chief.

AP contributed to this report.