By Ned Simons
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The prime minister has spent three nights in intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London while being treated for coronavirus.
Raab has been deputising deputising for Johnson chaired a Cobra emergency committee this afternoon to discuss the lockdown measures.
Asked if he had spoken to Johnson since he took over his duties, Raab told the Downing Street press conference on Thursday: “Not yet.”
Raab also said he had “all the authority I need” to lead the cabinet while the PM was in hospital.
Johnson was last seen in public clapping for NHS workers in Downing Street last Thursday before his admission to hospital on Sunday evening.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the first big breakthrough in Johnson’s health on Thursday, when he said the PM was now “sitting up in bed” and “engaging positively” with medics.
A total of 7,978 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, Raab said today.
Raab said the government would make a decision on towards the end of next week.
But he stressed the UK had not yet reached the peak of the epidemic and that it was “too early” to think about lifting the restrictions until that passes.
“We are not done yet,” he said. “We must keep going.”
“It’s been almost three weeks and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve all made,” he said.
“But the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus. So it’s still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.
“We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science.”
Downing Street said today the police will have the “full support” of government in enforcing the coronavirus lockdown.
As the country heads into the Easter bank holiday weekend, No. 10 said it is at a “critical juncture” in the battle to curb the spread of the disease.
The prime minister’s official spokesman made clear there can be no early lifting of the strict social distancing rules, urging the public to “stick with it”.