And Mr Halfon said the Prime Minister’s illness sent shockwaves around Westminster, admitting he was incredulous when he first learned the news via social media. Mr Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, said: “It was an incredible shock. “I was watching it on TV on Monday night with my wife.
It’s pretty awful because he looks after the whole country and we need the Prime Minister as strong as possible at this time
Robert Halfon MP
“We just turned on the television because we’d seen it on Twitter – and I just could not believe it.
“You are just immediately worried for Boris and also for the country.
“It’s pretty awful because he looks after the whole country and we need the Prime Minister as strong as possible at this time.
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“And it looks like he was overworking and possibly it was worse than he thought.
“It’s just incredible although thankfully it looks like he may be getting better.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak subsequently indicated this may be the case, saying Mr Johnson was now sitting up in bed.
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Mr Halfon also took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of social distancing.
He explained: “We’re fighting a third world war here against an invisible enemy – and we are all walking hand grenades.
“And that’s why we have to stay at home if we can.
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“If we’re not a key worker or delivery person we have to stay at home because otherwise we are not just at risk of getting the disease but we are spreaders.
“And what’s crucial is that you may have no symptoms of this disease, but you still could be spreading it.”
Harlow MP Mr Halfon said Princess Alexandra Hospital, in his constituency, was under enormous pressure as a result of the outbreak, with more than 50 deaths so far.
He also paid tribute to Dr Alfa Sa’adu, the hospital’s former associate medical director, who retired in 2017, but who returned to the front line to fight the illness, only to die of COVID-19 on March 31.
He said: “It’s so tragic that we have people who are actually volunteer to look after us and yet lose their lives in the process.”
Mr Halfon, who has a form of cerebral palsy which limits his mobility, is himself one of the shielded and as such is one of those staying at home.
He said the crisis had underlined just how fragile the world was in the face of a global pandemic – as well as just how much generosity existed in the community.
He added: “All the community groups are doing unbelievable work to try and get food packages to vulnerable people.”
Mr Johnson is “responding to treatment” as he remains in a stable condition in the intensive care unit where he is being treated for coronavirus, Downing Street has said.
His official spokesman said the Prime Minister continued to be in “good spirits” on Wednesday after spending a third night in St Thomas’s Hospital in London.
Mr Johnson is no longer be working while following the advice of doctors and receiving “standard oxygen treatment” and “breathing without any other assistance”.
When pressed for specifics, the spokesman said the update includes all the information the PM’s medical team “considers to be clinically relevant”.
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