Coronavirus: ‘Agony’ of Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds as couple kept apart
The world is watching as the man who should be leading the UK’s fight against coronavirus battles the disease himself from intensive care and away from loved ones.
But nothing could compare to the pain of the prime minister’s heavily pregnant and recently ill fiancee Carrie Symonds, says the prime minister’s biographer, Sonia Purnell.
"This is a horrible, horrible situation, just ghastly," Ms Purnell told Sky News.
"You can’t even accompany your loved one in the hospital. I can only imagine the agony of Carrie Symonds, his fiancee, who as we know is due to give birth in the early summer. This is a nightmare all round and also a nightmare for the whole country."
Boris Johnson spent the night in the intensive care unit of St Thomas’ Hospital, after his coronavirus symptoms worsened and he suffered breathing difficulties.
The 55-year-old tested positive for the disease 11 days ago and was admitted to hospital on Sunday night.
But his health deteriorated yesterday, as Downing Street said he suffered from "persistent" symptoms of COVID-19 – including a cough and a high temperature.
He had barely been able to see Ms Symonds since he fell ill, as she is pregnant with their first child and had also been self-isolating due to fears of having caught COVID-19.
On Saturday, 32-year-old Ms Symonds posted said on Twitter that she had spent the past week in bed with the main coronavirus symptoms.
"I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend," she wrote.
"Being pregnant with COVID-19 is obviously worrying. To other pregnant women, please do read and follow the most up to date guidance which I found to be v [sic] reassuring," she said.
Ms Symonds is believed to have left Downing Street more than a week ago to quarantine in her South London flat.
Like all friends and family of coronavirus patients, she will have to stay away from her fiance as she grows more pregnant with the couple’s first child and Mr Johnson endures his condition in hospital.
Pregnant women are on the list of those "at risk" of severe complications from coronavirus and were therefore classed in the group of people who should avoid non-essential contact for three months.
While there is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to contract COVID-19 or suffer more severely, doctors know that pregnancy can affect immune systems and therefore make expectant mothers more vulnerable to viruses.
Beteen Ms Symonds vulnerability and Mr Johnson’s serious state, it is unclear when the pair will be able to reunite.
Ms Purnell, who has known Mr Jonhson since the early 1990s, said she believed his desire to continue to lead the country contributed to the worsening of his illness.
"He has been prime minister for eight months, that is something he has wanted all his life," she said.
"And I think that desire to be the top dog, to be the PM, may have stopped him from stepping back when he was first ill, and now he may wish that he had done, and would have perhaps gotten better that way."
"I send him my very best wishes…. but this is ikely now to be a long haul and this will be a very unsettling time."
Ms Purnell said Mr Johnson’s inability to continue his job will be "deeply frustrating".
"Of course he never wanted to be prime minister during a global pandemic, and it isn’t the sort of thing that plays with his best strength," she said.
"He’s naturally an optimistic person; there’s a bit of bravado there. One remembers him shaking hands at a hospital a few weeks ago where there were coronavirus patients.
"But he isn’t invincible, no-one is. This will be a deep shock for him, that he has succumbed in this way – really quite traumatic for him".