Boris Johnson set to return to work after coronavirus fight, faces mounting pressure

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to work Monday amid mounting pressure to end the nation's coronavirus lockdown.

Johnson returns to 10 Downing Street two weeks after being discharged from a London hospital following a spell in the intensive care unit for COVID-19.

He spent a week at St. Thomas' Hospital, receiving oxygen treatments while under constant observation by medical staff.

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Johnson returns at a time when opposition politicians are demanding clarity and certainty. Some politicians have claimed that Johnson’s absence resulted in no clear strategy for ending the coronavirus lockdown.

“Decisions need to be taken quicker and communication with the public needs to be clearer,” opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said in a letter to Johnson.

“The British public have made great sacrifices to make the lockdown work,” he wrote. “They deserve to be part of an adult conversation about what comes next.”

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Scientists say the U.K. has reached the peak of the pandemic but is not yet out of danger. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is declining, and the number of daily deaths peaked on April 8.

Despite such warnings, a number of Conservative backers are urging the government to start loosening restrictions on the country.

Michael Spencer and Peter Hargreaves, the banker Sir Henry Angest, Phones4u founder John Caudwell and restaurateur Richard Caring all told The Sunday Times they wanted to see some reopening of the economy.

“We should start loosening up as soon as we reasonably can and allow the economy to start moving forward,” Spencer said. “We should really begin to offer a narrative of how and when it’s going to stop.”

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Hargreaves, who also gave £1 million ($1.2 million) to the Conservatives’ election war chest, said an extended lockdown would “do more harm to people’s health by putting them out of work and ruining their businesses”.

Ministers have so far resisted calls for an exit strategy, arguing it risks undermining their central message that people need to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Britain has recorded more than 20,000 deaths from COVID-19, the fifth country to do so since the pandemic started; though, it should be noted that the U.K. largely counts only deaths in hospitals.

Johnson has been recuperating at Chequers Court, the country home of Britain’s prime minister – a U.K. equivalent to the United States’ Camp David. He released a video statement thanking health workers for "saving" his life.

"He is 'raring to go' and will be back Monday," a Downing Street source told Sky News.

"He had a Chequers meeting with advisers on Friday and he will be meeting the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, and getting back to his normal schedule."

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This week, Johnson was able to attend his first audience with the Queen in three weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.