Monday, May 17, 2021
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Boris Johnson back at Downing Street

Boris Johnson has returned to Downing Street to take charge of the UK’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The prime minister will chair the regular morning cabinet meeting on Covid-19 before holding talks with senior ministers and officials.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been standing in for the PM, said Mr Johnson was “raring to go”.

He arrived back at No 10 on Sunday evening amid mounting pressure from Tory MPs to begin lifting the lockdown.

The latest official figures bring the total number of deaths in UK hospitals to 20,732, after a further 413 were announced on Sunday.

It is a month since Mr Johnson was diagnosed with the virus.

He spent a week in St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, including three nights in intensive care, after being admitted on 5 April.

Mr Johnson has not been doing any official government work during his convalescence at his country residence, Chequers, although last week he did speak to the Queen and US President Donald Trump, as well as meeting senior ministers.

He will now resume full-time duties, although it is unclear at this stage whether he will lead Monday’s press briefing.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said the one thing the prime minister did not want to do was take any action which might risk a second wave of infections.

He said Mr Johnson was facing “competing pressures” between the health of the nation on one hand, and, on the other, concerns about the effect of the lockdown on the economy – including from his own MPs.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative backbench 1922 committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour that there was a limit to how long people would tolerate restrictions, especially if they seemed illogical.

He said: “If there is a question over whether something is necessary or not, I think we should err on the side of openness and trying to make sure that more people can get on with their lives and more people can get on with getting back to their jobs.”

(Source: BBC)

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