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In a five-minute video posted to his Twitter page, the PM said it was “hard to find the words” to express his “debt” to the NHS, and thanked the UK for the “effort and sacrifice” made while social distancing.
Johnson spent seven days at St Thomas’ Hospital, including three days in intensive care, after testing positive for the virus which has now killed more than 10,000 people across the UK.
He said: “In the last seven days I have of course seen the pressure that the NHS is under.
“I have seen the personal courage not just of the doctors and nurses but of everyone, the cleaners, the cooks, the health care workers of every description – physios, radiographers, pharmacists – who have kept coming to work, kept putting themselves in harm’s way, kept risking this deadly virus.
“It is thanks to that courage, that devotion, that duty and that love that our NHS has been unbeatable.”
It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS for saving my life.
The efforts of millions of people across this country to stay home are worth it. Together we will overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past. #StayHomeSaveLivespic.twitter.com/HK7Ch8BMB5
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 12, 2020
The PM also took the opportunity to thank several healthcare workers by name, adding: “I want to pay my own thanks to the utterly brilliant doctors, leaders in their fields, men and women but several of them for some reason called Nick, who took some crucial decisions a few days ago for which I will be grateful for the rest of my life.
“I want to thank the many nurses, men and women, whose care has been so astonishing.
“I am going to forget some names, so forgive me, but I want to thank Po Ling and Shannon and Emily and Angel and Connie and Becky and Rachael and Nicky and Ann.
“And I hope they won’t mind if I mention in particular two nurses who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way. They are Jenny from New Zealand – Invercargill on the South Island to be exact – and Luis from Portugal – near Porto.
“And the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed.”
The PM was discharged on Sunday and will continue his recovery at Chequers, Downing Street has confirmed.
It means the PM’s de facto deputy Dominic Raab and the cabinet will continue running the government’s coronavirus response, including reviewing the lockdown.
A decision on whether to extend the lockdown is expected to be made towards the end of the week.
Johnson has also thanked the UK for adhering to social distancing rules in order to slow the spread of the virus.
He said: “When the sun is out and the kids are at home; when the whole natural world seems at its loveliest and the outdoors is so inviting, I can only imagine how tough it has been to follow the rules on social distancing.
“I thank you because so many millions and millions of people across this country have been doing the right thing – millions going through the hardship of self-isolation – faithfully, patiently, with thought and care for others as well as for themselves.
“I want you to know that this Easter Sunday I do believe that your efforts are worth it, and are daily proving their worth.
“Because although we mourn every day those who are taken from us in such numbers, and though the struggle is by no means over, we are now making progress in this incredible national battle against coronavirus.
“A fight we never picked against an enemy we still don’t entirely understand.
“We are making progress in this national battle because the British public formed a human shield around this country’s greatest national asset – our National Health Service.”