Most people recover from Covid-19 within a week and cannot even be certain they had it, as they probably won’t be tested. The advice is to stay home, rest and take paracetamol. In 80% of cases, that is the end of it.
But NHS advice is that if the symptoms – mainly the dry cough, temperature and fatigue – have not gone by the end of a week, or they get worse, people should seek medical help.
Unlike Matt Hancock, the health secretary, who revealed he had Covid-19 on the same day as the prime minister, Boris Johnson has not recovered within the first week. He is said to have been admitted to hospital for tests, which may include scans of his lungs to check for pneumonia, as well as blood tests. He had a diagnostic test for Covid-19, so doctors will be looking for progression of the disease and to establish that he has not entered the second phase, where the immune system goes into overdrive.
Given the increasing pressure on hospitals at the moment, it is unlikely he will have been admitted unless doctors have real concerns. Minor tests could be carried out in Downing Street.