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British PM Johnson to return to work on Monday as virus death toll passes 20,000

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to work on Monday after recovering from the novel coronavirus, a government spokesperson confirmed to German Press Agency (DPA).

He has been recuperating at Chequers, the prime minister’s residence outside London, after being released from the hospital on April 12.

Johnson spent a week being treated for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, including three nights in intensive care after his condition dramatically deteriorated.

Johnson is understood to have held a three-hour meeting on Friday ahead of his return with senior cabinet members including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has been deputizing for him, Britain’s Press Association news agency reported.

Sky News on Saturday quoted a government source as saying Johnson was “raring to go” ahead of his return to Downing Street on Monday.

Johnson’s return to work comes at a crucial time, as pressure mounts on the government to ease coronavirus lockdown measures.

On Saturday, the COVID-19 death toll in Britain surpassed 20,000, according to the most recent information from the Health Ministry.

Although experts believe that the worst of this infection wave has passed, the death rate could still rise for a while, as the large number of people already infected either convalesce or die.

The new data, released on Saturday, showed that 813 people died in the 24-hour period, for a total of 20,319 dead. In that same time period, 4,913 people tested positive for the coronavirus for a total of 148,377 infections.

However, the deaths listed only include those who died in the hospital, meaning the true number is likely higher.

Johnson’s government has been criticized for what some say was a delayed and ambivalent response to the spread of the disease, which has spread worldwide since first being reported in China late last year.

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