Government sets date for Boris Johnson to return to work

PUBLISHED: 12:25 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:33 16 April 2020

Boris Johnson releases a video message while in self-isolation with the coronavirus. Photograph: Twitter.

Boris Johnson releases a video message while in self-isolation with the coronavirus. Photograph: Twitter.

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The date has been set for Boris Johnson to return to work after a period of rest following his battle with the coronavirus.

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The FT reports that ministers are expecting the return of their leader on May 7, coinciding with announcements of an easing of lockdown restrictions ahead of the May 8 bank holiday and the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) day.

Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital on April 6 after his Covid-19 symptoms failed to alleviate. He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit a day later. He, the health minister, Matt Hancock, and the chief medical officer for England, Chris Whitty, contracted the virus at the same time.

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The news of Johnson’s return comes as the government faces increasing pressure to release its exit strategy to the lockdown. With infection rates plateauing, all eyes are now on how the government intends to pull the economy out of its worst slump in 100 years after the government financial watchdog, The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), reported the country’s GDP could shrink by as much as 35% and borrowing to its highest rate since 1945.

Rumours have been swelling over plans to get young people working before the rest of the population because they are less prone to suffer from severe symptoms of the virus. This strategy also includes relaxing restrictions on those who test positive for antibodies while prioritising the reopening of schools and certain businesses.

Dominic Raab, who has been deputizing for the prime minister, is expected to announce a further three-week prolonging of the lockdown during this evening press conference.

Johnson tested negative for the virus when he was released from his week-long stay in hospital on April 12. He is now recovering at a home in Buckinghamshire and is not receiving daily briefings.

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