Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaled his return to work after being struck by coronavirus by applauding the British people on Monday for following the lockdown, but resisted demands to ease curbs by saying that this is a moment of ‘maximum risk’ of a second spike.
Johnson, who revealed the precarious nature of his condition after leaving hospital when, as he said, “things could have gone either way,” appeared to have fully recovered as he made a statement outside No 10, Downing Street.
“If this virus were a physical assailant an unexpected and invisible mugger which I can tell you from personal experience it is then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor.”
“And so it follows that this is the moment of opportunity; this is the moment when we can press home our advantage; it is also the moment of maximum risk”, he said.
UK-wide figures released on Sunday evening show 20,732 deaths and 152,840 cases. These include growing numbers of Indian and other non-white people, particularly in London boroughs such as Brent, Barnet, Ealing and Harrow.
Johnson noted the lockdown’s impact on the economy and social lives of the people.
“I want to get this economy moving as fast as I can but I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the NHS”
“I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict; and in spite of all the suffering we have so nearly succeeded we defied so many predictions; we did not run out of ventilators or ICU beds”.
After leaving hospital a week ago, Johnson did not engage in official work while recuperating in the country residence, Chequers, but last week spoke to Queen Elizabeth and US President Donald Trump, and some senior ministers.