LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked the medics and staff of the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) for saving his life after he tested positive for the coronavirus, saying he owed them his life.
In his first public statement since being moved out of the intensive care at St.
Thomas' Hospital in London on Saturday, the 55-year-old Johnson said, I can't thank them enough, I owe them my life.
Downing Street has said that Johnson, who completes a week in hospital on Sunday after being shifted there with persistent COVID-19 symptoms, continues to make very good progress while on the ward.
He has been able to take short walks as his doctors monitor his recovery after being moved out of the intensive care and has been watching films and doing puzzles in his hospital bed.
Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant with their first child, is said to have sent him letters and baby scans to lift his spirits during his time in the hospital.
Thousands of get-well soon cards have also poured in for the prime minister since he went into self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus over two weeks ago.
Asked about plans for his return to work, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Saturday that the UK PM needed "time and space to rest, recuperate and recover".
The Indian-origin Cabinet minister, who led the daily Downing Street update on the pandemic on Saturday, revealed that the UK had recorded 917 new coronavirus deaths, taking the total deaths in the country to 9,875.
According to the Johns Hopkins University data, the country has nearly 80,000 cornavirus cases.
Patel urged people to stay at home over the Easter weekend to curb the spread of the virus, despite warm and sunny weather across parts of the UK.
We have given the police powers to enforce the necessary measures we have put in place, including through enforcement fines," said Patel.
"If you don't play your part. Our selfless police will be unafraid to act. You will be endangering the lives of your own family, friends and loved ones," she said.
Meanwhile, an Easter message posted on the official 10 Downing Street Twitter account on behalf of the prime minister also urged people to stay at home to save lives.
It read: Wishing everyone a very happy Easter from Downing Street. This year across the country churches will remain closed, and families will spend the day apart.
But by staying home, remember, you are protecting the NHS and saving lives.