UK's 'designated survivor' revealed in event of Boris Johnson coronavirus infection

Posted on Mar 24 2020 - 10:00am by admin

Downing Street said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will step in as PM if Boris Johnson, who has not yet tested for the killer disease, falls ill with coronavirus. Mr Raab has tested negative twice for COVD-19 after suffering with a cough.

It comes as Downing Street drew up emergency plans to ensure Number 10 could continue to fight the pandemic if Mr Johnson or one of his top aides becomes sick.

The number of deaths in the UK rose to 281 on Sunday as an 18-year-old was thought to have become the youngest victim of the virus in Britain.

There are growing fears Britain is on a similar trajectory to Italy – scene of the world’s worst outbreak – where the death toll passed 5,000 over the weekend.

The decision to put Mr Raab in place has sparked clashes in the cabinet with Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock reportedly upset they were not considered.

One minister told The Times: “If Boris can’t do his job because he is incapacitated, a lot of people think that Michael should be running the show, not Raab. One of these people is Michael, of course.”

Another said: “Michael thinks the Cabinet should be co-ordinating everything.

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The Prime Minister said he will be thinking “very, very actively” about what steps to take if people continue to gather in large numbers in defiance of calls to stay apart.

There was anger among MPs at scenes over the weekend of crowds flocking to parks, markets, beaches and beauty spots.

Mr Johnson warned the NHS could be “overwhelmed” in the same way as the Italian healthcare system has been, if the spread of the virus in the UK is not curbed.

But at his daily Number 10 press conference on Sunday, Mr Johnson indicated he was reluctant to ban people from going outside for a walk or to exercise because of the physical and mental health benefits, as long as they acted responsibly.

The Government later issued updated guidance making clear that essential travel did not include visits to “second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays”.

Meanwhile letters are going out to 1.5 million people with underlying health conditions who are considered to be the most vulnerable to the coronavirus telling them to stay at home for the next 12 weeks.

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