Nearly two weeks ago, the 55-year-old British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson announced on Friday, March 27 that he was experiencing “mild symptoms,” specifically a cough and fever, and would self isolate on Downing Street.
Two days later, the Prime Minister posted a video of himself where he called upon the British public to stay home so the coronavirus outbreak could be contained. He also thanked health care workers, pharmacists, and grocers, whose relentless courage has been particularly evident on the frontlines in the worldwide effort to fight COVID-19.
Health Minister Matt Hancock also tested positive, along with several other British officials and Parliament Members, who have self quarantined over the last few weeks after experiencing some of the virus’s most common symptoms.
Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s health has continued to decline, and on Sunday, April 5, he was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in London. Johnson’s condition reportedly “worsened,” over the next 24 hours, and on Monday evening, April 6, he was moved into an intensive care unit.
Following this unfortunate announcement, Downing Street issued a statement, reading that, “the PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks to the NHS staff for their hard work and dedication.” Chancellor Rishi Sunak sent his thoughts and prayers to Johnson, determinedly stating the Prime Minister would “come out of this even stronger.”
Sir Keir Starmer of the Labour Party also described this as being “terribly sad news.” BBC has reported that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, the most senior Cabinet Minister after Johnson, will take over the Prime Minister’s responsibilities “where necessary.”
This report comes amidst an incredibly dire time in human history. As of Monday, April 6, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine has confirmed that almost 50,000 people in the United Kingdom have tested positive for the coronavirus, in addition to nearly 5,000 deaths.
Worldwide estimates are that 1.3 million have been infected, 270,000 have recovered, and more than 70,000 have died. The pandemic has raised alarm bells across the globe, and world leaders, despite being woefully unprepared to combat the virus, have fought to preserve a sense of calm and hope in their respective countries.
However, government officials are no more immune to disease than ordinary citizens, and tragically, Boris Johnson is not the only example of this. Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, tested positive with the virus on March 25.
Outside of the United Kingdom, many current and former Iranian politicians have contracted COVID-19 as well, including the 78-year-old Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, who died on March 16. Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was diagnosed and eventually hospitalized with the coronavirus upon returning from an overseas trip to the United States.
Canadians feared their Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may become compromised after his wife, Sophie Trudeau, tested positive herself. While the Prime Minister self quarantined in Ottawa as a precaution, he thankfully never experienced any symptoms.
The United States has been especially hit hard by the coronavirus, and the New York Times has reported that the New York metropolitan area is the current “epicenter” of the pandemic. At the moment, the United States has the most confirmed cases compared to any other country in the world, and it is also worrisome considering how many of their political leaders have caught the virus.
Some of the more well-known figures include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Representatives Ben McAdams of Utah and Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. The husband of Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate, Amy Klobuchar, has had a particularly harrowing battle with the virus, having been hospitalized and was reportedly coughing up blood.
The White House has recently launched a new policy in which COVID-19 tests will be provided “to anyone who will come in close contact with either President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence,” both of whom tested negative after being exposed to multiple individuals who have since been confirmed with the virus.
Security measures like these are highly necessary at the present moment. The last several weeks have demonstrated the need for extra precautions, as world leaders from all corners of the globe are proving to be just as at risk to COVID-19 as civilian populations are.
Every government official has a responsibility to preserve their health to the best of their ability during this time of global crisis, so they can continue to serve and provide for their constituents. Everyone must do their part and physically distance themselves from others to control the spread of the coronavirus. The world hopes for the speedy recovery of Boris Johnson and other infected leaders and wishes them the best as they fight for their health and survival.
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