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Shock in UK

REPORTS of United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of St Thomas’ Hospital in London yesterday sent shock waves throughout the Jamaican community in that country, where more than 5,300 people have succumbed to COVID-19.

Johnson, who tested positive for the infectious disease less than two weeks ago, had been self-isolating at his Downing Street residence before being admitted to hospital on Sunday.

Yesterday, news emerged from his office that his condition had worsened, shocking the country.

Weeks before testing positive, Johnson had announced that he “shook hands with everybody”, including patients at hospital, leaving many to theorise that that’s how the leader of the British Conservative Party contracted the deadly disease.

Yesterday, Jamaican Damain Drummond, who lives and works in London, told the Jamaica Observer that while he was not surprised that Johnson, 55, had contracted the virus, he was stunned when news broke across the country that the prime minister was moved to the ICU.

“In my mind, I knew that it was a high probability for him to be infected. To be honest, it came as a shock to me because when I saw the breaking news this (yesterday) evening, I was shocked and I hope that he has a speedy recovery,” Drummond said, adding that for most people in London, what happens next “is just a wait-and-see game”.

There are more than 52,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK with 287 recoveries, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

Drummond said, looking on at how the Jamaican Government has handled the outbreak, had the UK taken a similar approach, he believes things would have been much different in that country.

“I take heart from what I see Jamaica is doing, in terms of the measures that they are putting in place. I think that if such measures were actually in place, even before then, at least it would have limited what is actually happening now in terms of the rates of infection and deaths in the United Kingdom,” he stated.

For Rohan Francis, a Jamaican living in Birmingham, thinking about COVID-19 increases his stress levels.

He is asthmatic and learning about Johnson’s worsening condition has stunned him.

“It’s a shocker, really,” Francis said.

“He has actually done his best to try [to] keep all of us safe, and to see him put himself at the forefront of everything and now he’s in intensive care, my thoughts go out to him and his family and his [spouse], because she is pregnant. That’s a bit of a concern because that is a major event that has taken place,” he added.

Another Jamaican living in London, who asked not to be named, said it was difficult to learn that Johnson had been moved to the ICU.

“You never want to hear that anybody catch this thing, and to hear that he is in the intensive c