At the UK's daily briefing on Thursday (April 9) ministers said he has been sitting up in bed and talking to medical staff, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying Johnson "continues to make positive steps forward and he's in good spirits," Raab, who is deputizing for Johnson during the most stringent shutdown in Britain's peacetime history, said he had not spoken to the prime minister since he was admitted to intensive care.
With Johnson absent and the death toll still mounting, the British government is wrestling with two major issues - how to finance a vast increase in state spending to support the shuttered economy, and when to start easing lockdown measures.
Even with good weather forecast for the Easter weekend, Raab said the peak of the virus outbreak had yet to be reached and that the government would not be able to say more about the duration of the lockdown until late next week, once experts have had chance to analyze data on how well it is working.
Britain's chief scientific adviser also defended officials' response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying that modelling was carried out quickly enough to effectively inform Britain's reaction to the pandemic.
Patrick Vallance was responding to a question about a Reuters special report which detailed how scientists in Britain were slow to sound the alarm about the pandemic.