PM's Covid-19 timeline: from 'mild symptoms' to a brush with death

Guardian staff

Friday 27 March

Boris Johnson announces that he has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating in his Downing Street apartment. He describes mild symptoms for 24 hours including a temperature. He says that he will continue to lead the government.

Saturday 28 March

Secretary of state for business Alok Sharma tells reporters: “Can I be absolutely clear the PM has had mild symptoms, he is absolutely leading the response from the front.”

Monday 30 March

Johnson chairs cabinet by remote video link. But newspapers later report that Downing Street sources say Johnson has been “coughing and spluttering his way through conference calls”.

Wednesday 1 April

Johnson posts a video, urging people to stay at home and saying that those with symptoms like his should stay at home. He says that “although I am sequestered … I am able to be in constant touch with my officials” and says he is “absolutely confident” we will beat it together.

Thursday 2 April

When asked if the prime minister had a temperature, a Downing Street spokesman says only that he continues to have “mild symptoms”. Johnson appears on the steps of No 11 Downing Street – where his apartment is - to join the second Clap for our Carers” event. Some observers suggest that Johnson looks unwell in pictures. Aides say he will be coming out of self-isolation on Friday.

Friday 3 April

Johnson is unable to leave quarantine after seven days of self-isolation because he still has a persistent temperature. He posts a video on Twitter saying that although he is feeling better “in accordance with government advice I must continue to self-isolate”. But he says that he continues to work.

Lobby correspondents are told Johnson had only mild symptoms of the illness and that he chaired the morning coronavirus meeting with ministers and officials.

Saturday 4 April

Johnson’s pregnant partner Carrie Symonds reveals that she has had the main symptoms of coronavirus for the past week but is “on the mend”. It is reported that Johnson is “stubbornly refusing to stop working”, with the Mail on Sunday reporting a source as saying: “He has not been resting enough and is still leading from the front. Obviously that is beginning to slow down his recovery. He needs to go to bed.”

Sunday 5 April

Health secretary Matt Hancock tells Sky News: “He’s OK. I’ve been talking to him every day, several times a day … he’s very much got his hand on the tiller. But he’s still got a temperature … He’s working away inside Downing Street. He’s in good spirits.”

But later Downing Street says that Johnson has been admitted to hospital for tests “as a precautionary step” because his symptoms are persistent 10 days after he tested positive.

Monday 6 April

Morning

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick tells BBC Breakfast: “We all hope and expect that he can get back to No 10 very soon.”

A government spokesman says that the prime minister is in “good spirits” while continuing to work on his red box of government papers.

Asked whether Johnson had pneumonia, the spokesman says that any change in his condition would be communicated to the public. But he acknowledges that the prime minister continues to have a cough and a temperature 11 days after first reporting symptoms.

Afternoon

A tweet from Johnson’s account says that he has gone into hospital for routine tests “as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms”. It goes on: “I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.”

At the daily press briefing, foreign secretary Dominic Raab says that the prime minister is “still in charge” from his hospital bed. He adds: “He was admitted as a precaution only as because some of his symptoms have persisted. He is in good spirits and is still in charge of the government.

“He is being given regular updates on developments and he continues to lead the government.” Raab acknowledges that he has not spoken to Johnson since Saturday.

At the same briefing, chief medical officer Chris Whitty is asked if Johnson could have pneumonia. He says: “This is a question for him and his medical advisers, who are outstanding. I am absolutely not going to discuss any individual patient and I do not have the full details, nor should I.”

Evening

Downing Street issues a statement saying that the prime minister’s condition has “worsened” over the course of the afternoon. It continues: “On the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital.”

Related: 'I owe them my life': how Boris Johnson's illness shook him, and the nation

Raab is asked to deputise for him where necessary, the statement says. It notes that Johnson is receiving “excellent care”.

Tuesday 7 April

Downing Street says the PM’s condition remains stable and he is in good spirits following his first night in intensive care but he would need to remain there for close monitoring.

Concerns are raised about how the government will make key decisions about the pandemic in Johnson’s absence

Wednesday 8 April

Johnson is said to be in a stable condition and responding to treatment after a second night in intensive care.

Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, said the prime minister was sitting up in bed and engaging positively with medical staff.

Thursday 9 April

The prime minister is moved back on to a general hospital ward after spending three nights in intensive care. He is in extremely good spirits, Downing Street says.

In response, Symonds posts a tweet a painting of a rainbow with 26 clapping emojis.

At the daily briefing Raab says that he has not spoken to Johnson since he went in to hospital but insisted that the government was functioning smoothly.

Friday 10 April

Johnson is in good spirits and “enormously grateful for the care he’s receiving”, a number 10 spokesman says.

Stanley Johnson, the PM’s father, expressed his relief in an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme. He says his son will need rest and the events may serve a wider purpose. “In a sense it’s got the whole country to realise this is a serious event. If it can hit the prime minister, for heaven’s sake, well it does come close to home.”

Saturday 11 April

Downing Street says Johnson continues to make very good progress.

Johnson issues a short statement thanking staff at St Thomas’: “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”

Sunday 12 April

Johnson is discharged after seven nights in St Thomas’ and is taken to his country retreat, Chequers. Downing Street says the prime minister would be taking a break from work while he recovers.

Symonds thanks staff at St Thomas’ and everyone who sent a message of support. “There were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.”

In a video statement Johnson, in suit and tie, says the “NHS has saved my life, no question”.

He added: “We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.”

He paid tribute to the astonishing care he received from nurses and thanked, in particular, the “two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way. They’re Jenny from New Zealand … and Luis from Portugal, near Porto.

“The reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”