Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces the biggest conundrum of his premiership as he recuperates from COVID-19: how to lift a lockdown that is destroying swathes of the British economy without triggering a deadly second wave of the outbreak.
Johnson, 55, is on the mend at his country residence after spending three nights in intensive care at a London hospital earlier this month with COVID-19 complications. He later said he owed his life to the hospital staff.
But as speculation mounts that the prime minister is preparing to return to work, Johnson is under pressure to explain just how and when the world’s fifth largest economy will exit the crippling lockdown.
“He sounded incredible,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday of how Johnson sounded on a call they had two days earlier. “He was ready to go.”
“It’s like the old Boris,” Trump said. “He’s doing great.”
Johnson’s government, which was slower than European peers to impose a lockdown, has come under fire for its limited testing capacity and for failing to deliver enough personal protective equipment to front-line health workers.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Johnson is planning to return to work as early as Monday, and his health minister, Matt Hancock, described the prime minister as cheerful, ebullient and getting much better.
“That decision is for the prime minister in consultation with his doctors,” Hancock said. “I spoke to him yesterday, he’s on very good form and is clearly recovering.”