Boris Johnson is intent on returning to work as soon as Monday to continue tackling the coronavirus crisis, it is reported.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital following his own battle with coronavirus. He has since been recovering at Chequers, his countryside residence.
But Johnson – who spent three days in intensive care and seven in hospital overall – is now said to have told aides to schedule meetings with cabinet ministers to get him up to speed.
The Telegraph reported Boris Johnson could return to Downing Street on Monday.
As part of a gradual return to work, Johnson had a telephone audience with the Queen on Wednesday night and spoke with Donald Trump on Tuesday.
At a coronavirus press conference in Washington DC, Trump suggested Johnson was on the road to recovery, saying: “I will tell you he sounded incredible.”
“I’m very surprised to tell you this. It’s like the old Boris, tremendous energy, tremendous drive,” Trump added.
And health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC’s Today programme this morning: “I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday. He is cheerful. He is ebullient. He is definitely on the mend in a big way.”
A No 10 spokesman nonetheless stressed earlier this week that the prime minister was not “formally doing government work” and would take advice from his medical team regarding any return to Downing Street.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for Johnson for the last few weeks. But reports suggest the cabinet has been split over when and how to ease lockdown measures.
Senior ministers are thought to be divided over whether to ease the lockdown measures to open up the economy, or continue with a strict suppression strategy.
Hancock today said the government would not remove the current measures until “it is safe to do so”.
“The point is, the improvement in people’s health from getting the number of new cases down, and getting it right down, is also the best thing for the economy,” the health secretary said.
He added: “The worst thing for the economy would be a second spike and, instead, if you get the number of new cases right down, then you can hold it down through testing, tracking and tracing and that allows you to release more of the measures.”
Meanwhile, medical officers have said UK is at or near the peak of the coronavirus crisis.
The number of deaths related to coronavirus hit 18,738 yesterday – though this number does not account for many recent deaths in care homes and outside hospitals.
The death toll rose by 638, up from 18,100 the day before.
The UK currently has the fifth-highest official death toll from the virus.