Boris Johnson is still in intensive care in London after being infected with the coronavirus, but signs are pointing toward him slowly getting better. The UK prime minister, who spent his third night in the ICU at St. Thomas' Hospital, is "stable" and "improving," Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC Thursday morning, per CNBC. Dowden says Johnson "sat up and engaged with medical staff," adding, "I think things are getting better for him." The 55-year-old leader is said to be receiving "excellent care," per Rishi Sunak, the country's finance minister, and also the second in line after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to take over for Johnson if both of those men should become unable to serve as PM. Raab is currently running the government in Johnson's absence.
Johnson had tested positive for the virus on March 27 and was hospitalized on Sunday after not being able to shake his fever and cough. His spokesman says the prime minister was never on a ventilator, though he did require "standard oxygen treatment." Per the Sun, 10 Downing Street has acknowledged Johnson may be out of commission for weeks or even months as he recuperates; medical experts tell the newspaper that a general rule of thumb is that patients need about a week to recover for each day spent in the ICU. "The prime minister will absolutely follow the advice of his medical team," his rep notes. Meanwhile, per the Guardian, Dowden says the virus lockdown in the United Kingdom will likely stretch beyond its original three weeks; that mark will be reached on Monday. Senior officials are set to meet to review the restrictions and decide on the next steps. (Read more Boris Johnson stories.)