Boris's coronavirus journey: Four weeks from handshakes to hospital

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus journey: Just FOUR WEEKS on from shaking hands with everyone in sight, the Prime Minister finds himself in isolation receiving oxygen treatment while struggling to shake off illness

  • Four weeks ago PM still saying it was ok to shake hands if you washed them after 
  • Today he is in a London hospital after struggling with coronavirus himself
  • He is in ‘good spirits’ but No 10 will not say how long he will be in a bed 

A month ago, Boris Johnson appeared to be on a mission to shake hands.

He locked paws with Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield as he appeared on This Morning to discuss the latest steps to battle the then burgeoning outbreak, without alarming people.

He later manfully greeted Welsh Tory Lord Davies at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in Llangollen.

Fast-forward to today and the Prime Minister is isolated in a London hospital after struggling to shake off his own brush with the killer pandemic. 

Taking to Twitter, the 55-year-old insisted he was undergoing ‘routine tests’ and was ‘still in touch with my team’ as the government battles the deadly UK outbreak. 

No10 has insisted it was not an emergency admission and the premier remains in control of the government’s response, despite staying in hospital with no clear timeframe for being discharged. 

But there are warnings from ministers that Mr Johnson has ‘risked his health’ by keeping up a frantic workrate, while one senior Tory said he must learn he is ‘not indispensable’ and has to rest.  

But it marks a fast turnaround in the PM’s personal situation and sets out how his initial softly-softly, common-sense approach to the pandemic, mainly focused on washing hands, has quickly turned into the most severe peacetime lockdown of Britain.

Here is how the Last month has played out for the prime minister and senior members of the Cabinet:

March 3: Mr Johnson dismissed the trend for coronavirus ‘elbow bumps’ – saying he is perfectly happy to keep shaking hands with people. The PM joked that he was still carrying out the traditional greeting ‘continuously’, citing scientific advice that it is fine as long as you keep washing your hands. 

March 5:  He shook hands with Mr Schofield and Mrs Willoughby as he appeared on This Morning to reassure Britons that he would ‘keep the country fed’ during the coronavirus outbreak in a bid to stop panic-buyers from raiding supermarket shelves and stockpiling food. He later hosts a reception for International Women’s Day in Downing Street with MP Nadine Dorries – who would become the first minister to contract Covid-19.

March 6: He meets scientists as he visits testing laboratory at Bedford Technology Park. Later he is pictured shaking hands with Byron Davies as he arrives at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference in the Llangollen Pavilion 

He shook hands with Mr Schofield and Mrs Willoughby as he appeared on This Morning on March 5

Mr Johnson shaking hands with Byron Davies as he arrives at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference on March 6

March 8: Surveys flood defences in the Worcestershire town of Bewdley

March 9: He attempts to shake hands with a bishop at Westminster Abbey before stopping himself while at Commonwealth Service

But he later shakes hands with heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds speak with heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day on March 9

March 10: Says people should avoid shaking hands, to shame other people into washing their hands

Health minister Nadine Dorries became the first MP to test positive for coronavirus, shortly after attending a Downing Street reception.

March 12: Mr Johnson says preventing mass gatherings is not an effective way to tackle coronavirus

March 16: He advises against mass gatherings in policy U-turn – effectively cancelling all sport and other events

March 17: Talks about importance of social distancing at briefing with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Chief Scientific Officer Patrick Vallance

Boris Johnson with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance at Downing Street on March 17

March 18: Speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons and says all schools will be closed

March 19: Says UK can ‘turn the tide’ in fight against coronavirus within 12 weeks at briefing with Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance

March 20: Closes pubs, restaurants and theatres at press conference with Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries

March 21: Daily coronavirus update in the Cabinet Room

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily coronavirus update in the Cabinet Room on Saturday

March 22: Media briefing with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries

March 23: Orders a UK-wide lockdown with people told to stay at home in a special televised address

Boris Johnson addresses the nation from Downing Street and imposes a lockdown on Monday

March 24: Hosts weekly Cabinet Room meeting remotely

Boris Johnson chairs a weekly Cabinet meeting remotely from the Cabinet Rroom on Tuesday

Boris Johnson speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on Wednesday

March 25: Speaks at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons

March 25: Speaks to Queen Elizabeth II by telephone

March 26: Holds a video call to other G20 leaders and later joins in with a national applause for NHS staff.

Boris Johnson joins in with a national applause for the NHS outside Downing Street last night

March 27: Takes part in NHS clap for carers outside Downing Street with Chancellor Rishi Sunak

March 27: Announces in a video that he has tested positive for coronavirus

March 29: Issues video on social media thanking NHS, pharmacy and supermarket workers

March 31: Chairs digital Cabinet meeting

April 1: Says in social media video that testing will be ‘massively ramped up’

April 2: Takes part in NHS clap for carers from Downing Street doorstep

April 3: Issues video on social media urging people to stay at home during sunny weather, and also reveals he is continuing to self-isolate as he is still suffering a temperature.

April 4: Carrie Symonds, the PM’s pregnant fiancée reveals she has been self-isolating at her Camberwell flat. 

April 5: Mr Johnson is admitted to an NHS hospital in London for tests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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