However, his effective deputy Dominic Raab is chairing the daily coronavirus crisis committee meeting this morning, and the PM will clearly not be playing the same role as usual.
In a Twitter video posted on Friday from quarantine in No11, where he has been in self-isolation, an exhausted-looking Mr Johnson revealed he was still suffering from a high temperature. Experts say there is a risk of pneumonia when a temperature lasts more than a week. There have been claims Mr Johnson has been coughing heavily during conference calls. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said Mr Johnson had been ‘working incredibly hard’ and said he hoped he would be back in Downing Street soon – but did not rule out him being forced to stay in for longer. Health minister Nadine Dorries – the first MP to test positive for coronavirus, but now recovered – suggested the PM needs to ‘sleep and recover’. Foreign Office minister James Duddridge said Mr Johnson must now ‘let others do the heavy lifting’, while Tory West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the PM might have to recognise he is ‘not indispensable’ while he recovers.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove’s wife Sarah Vine delivered a furious rebuke to those who had been demanding Mr Johnson keep working, saying: ‘I hope you are happy now. He’s in hospital.’ One Tory MP told the Telegraph Mr Johnson should stop trying to copy Churchill’s example during the Second World War and instead let another Cabinet minister take charge of the national efforts to fight the virus. The MP said: ‘I hear that the number of hours that he is able to work, he is finding frustrating. You don’t hold the camera up and look grim – it is not going to inspire the nation. ‘Unfortunately, he has written too many books on Churchill and wants to be the guy – he needs to be Boris Johnson and not try to be someone else.’