Boris Johnson’s opening words during a phone call with Donald Trump this week paints a grim picture for the UK as it continues to battle against coronavirus.
According to the President, the Prime Minister, who revealed he had tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday morning, didn’t even bother with ‘hello’ as the pair talked about the global pandemic, instead issuing one desperate request.
Speaking to reporters, Trump said: “Before he even said hello he said, ‘we need ventilators.'”
“I said, ‘wow that’s a big statement.’ Hopefully he’s going to be in good shape.”
The President added that Boris would be “totally great” after his positive diagnosis was revealed.
Speaking to reporters today, the US President said: “ Boris Johnson was asking for ventilators today.
“As you know, Boris has tested, unfortunately he’s tested positive, and it’s a terrible thing.
“But he’s going to be great. I’m sure he’s going to be totally great.”
“We have countries all over the world that are friends of ours and we will help those countries,” he continued.
“We can help Italy, and we can help the UK.
“Boris Johnson specifically – when I say ‘how you feeling?’ – and the first thing Boris said to me is ‘we need ventilators’.”
Earlier this week, Number 10 said Prime Minister Boris Johnson had spoken to several ventilator manufacturers about scaling up production capacity.
The firms named by Number 10 included High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Meggitt, Ford, GKN Aerospace, Babcock, Plexus, Siemens PLC & Siemens Healthineers, McLaren, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Renault F1, PA Consulting, Renishaw, and GE Healthcare Systems.
Number 10 said the government was working with “many other UK manufacturers to build, design and develop new effective, safe and easy-to-build ventilators.”
And as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States tops 100,000, Trump has also issued order for more equipment, asking the car company General Motors to mass produce ventilators for patients struck down by the deadly bug.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, who is self-isolating at Downing Street after developing a temperature and a dry cough – two tell-tale signs of the killer virus – says he is working remotely, participating in a number of video conferences as he continues to run Number 10.
The White House has confirmed that President Trump wished Mr Johnson a speedy recovery following the news.
“The President thanked the Prime Minister for his close friendship and wished him a speedy recovery,” a statement reads.
“President Trump and Prime Minister Johnson agreed to collaborate closely, along with the G7, the G20, and other international partners, to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and boost the global economy.”
“The two leaders also expressed optimism that the United States and the United Kingdom would emerge stronger than ever.”
Mr Trump has previously tested negative for the disease, which has now infected more Americans than in any other country worldwide.
In the UK, there are now more than 14,500 confirmed coronavirus cases.
The death toll now stands at 759 – a jump of 31% in just 24 hours – making it the seventh highest after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, the US and France.