Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson was making "very good progress" on Saturday in his recovery in hospital from coronavirus, officials said, as the country's deaths toll from the disease approached the grim milestone of 10,000.
The 55-year-old leader was spending his second full day out of intensive care at London's St Thomas' Hospital, where he has been able to take short walks between periods of rest, according to Downing Street.
"The Prime Minister continues to make very good progress," a No. 10 spokeswoman said.
News of his improvement contrasted with the latest official statistics showing Britain recorded nearly 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths for the second consecutive day -- one of the worst rates globally.
Johnson is the most high-profile leader to suffer from the coronavirus, and his hospitalisation is unprecedented for a British prime minister during a national emergency in modern times.
He was admitted Sunday for a persistent cough and high temperature 10 days after self-isolating with the virus. A day later he was transferred to the intensive care unit as his condition deteriorated.
The Conservative leader left the unit Thursday evening in "extremely good spirits" and waving at staff "in gratitude", his spokesman has said.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported Johnson's friends had revealed he came close to death while in intensive care and said he owed his life to the hospital's medical team.
It remains unclear when he might be discharged from hospital and how quickly he would return to work once out.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been deputising for Johnson.
The prime minister's spokesman stressed Friday that his recovery was "at an early stage" and he would act only "on the advice of his medical team".