Boris Johnson has thanked the “unconquerable” NHS for saving his life, saying his stay in intensive care with coronavirus “could have gone either way”, after he was discharged from hospital.
In an Easter Sunday message, the prime minister who will not immediately return to work as he recovers from Covid-19 at his country residence, Chequers, said his stay at St Thomas’ Hospital had shown him the “pressure” the NHS is under.
But he said the UK “will win” the battle against coronavirus, because “our NHS is the beating heart of this country – it is unconquerable, it is powered by love”.
He added: “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.”
Mr Johnson thanked the staff at St Thomas’ Hospital for the “brilliant care.”
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He said “the efforts of millions of people across this country to stay home are worth it”, adding: “Together we will overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.”
Concluding his remarks, the PM said: “So thank you from me, and from all of us, to the NHS, and let’s remember to follow the rules on social distancing. Stay at home, protect our NHS – and save lives.
“Thank you, and Happy Easter.”
Number 10 said in a statement: “The PM has been discharged from hospital to continue his recovery, at Chequers.
“On the advice of his medical team, the PM will not be immediately returning to work. He wishes to thank everybody at St Thomas’ for the brilliant care he has received.
“All of his thoughts are with those affected by this illness.”
Ms Symonds, who is expecting the couple’s baby, said: “I will never, ever be able to repay you and I will never stop thanking you.
“There were times last week that were very dark indeed. My heart goes out to all those in similar situations, worried sick about their loved ones.
“Thank you also to everyone who sent such kind messages of support. Today I’m feeling incredibly lucky.”
During his hospital stay, Mr Johnson’s fiance has sent him letters and baby scans to lift his spirits.
Ms Symonds provided the Prime Minister with daily updates, including images of their unborn child, as he struggled with coronavirus in hospital.
The prime minister was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening, with persistent coronavirus symptoms.
However he was moved to the intensive care unit on Monday afternoon, after his condition deteriorated.
He was transferred back to a hospital ward on Thursday as his health continued to improve.
Issuing a short statement on Saturday as he continued his recovery, Mr Johnson said: “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”
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