BORIS Johnson says he is in “good spirits" and is running the UK Government from his hospital bed as he praises NHS staff as the "best of Britain".

The Prime Minister was taken to St Thomas’s Hospital, across Westminster Bridge from the House of Commons, by private transport on Sunday night for precautionary tests after his coronavirus symptoms, a persistent cough and a temperature, continued after 10 days; they should normally clear up after seven.

In a message on Twitter, he said: "Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I'm in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.

"I'd like to say thank you to all the brilliant NHS staff taking care of me and others in this difficult time. You are the best of Britain. Stay safe everyone, and please remember to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives."

The PM's spokesman said the hospital tests were “routine” but declined to go into detail; nor did he confirm reports that Mr Johnson underwent oxygen treatment, urging caution about such reports. He insisted No 10 had thus far been “very transparent” about the PM’s condition.

“He had a comfortable night in St Thomas’s Hospital in London and is in good spirits. He remains in hospital under observation.

“I’m not planning to give a commentary on tests or his care. We will provide updates on the PM’s condition as soon as there is anything new to say.”

Asked if Mr Johnson was in a private ward or room, the spokesman replied: “He is in a NHS hospital; how and where he is treated is a matter for his doctors.”

The spokesman pointed out that the PM had been in touch with No 10 colleagues. Asked if he could run the Government from his hospital bed, he replied: “The PM remains in charge of the Government.

“Any information which the PM needs updates on and any decisions that require actions from the PM, that is what will happen. He is continuing to see the [red ministerial] box.”

Asked what would happen if Mr Johnson was unable to work, he replied: “That has not happened. The PM continues to run the Government.”

Pressed further, he said: “In any circumstance where the PM were unable to work, then the First Secretary of State[Dominic Raab] would assume those responsibilities. But as I have stressed that is not the case.”

Mr Raab, the Foreign Secretary, chaired the daily 9.15am Covid-19 briefing also known as the “war Cabinet”. The regular Cabinet will not take place tomorrow with No 10 pointing out how the Covid-19 meeting will centrally co-ordinate the Government’s response to the outbreak. Also, ministerial committees set up to deal with aspects of the pandemic would continue.

Mr Raab is expected to take the daily 5pm Downing St briefing alongside Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, who has recovered following self-isolation after he showed symptoms of coronavirus.

Asked about reports out of Russia that Mr Johnson was on a ventilator in intensive care, the spokesman declared: “That is disinformation.”

Referring to false and misleading narratives, which had been disseminated since the start of the pandemic, he stressed: “It’s vital that any disinformation is knocked down quickly. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Cabinet Office continue to work closely with social media companies to press for further action to stem the spread of falsehoods and rumours.”

In other developments:

*the Queen's address to the nation on Sunday evening was watched by more than 23 million people;

*the Foreign Office has announced more flights to repatriate UK nationals stranded around the world, including ones from India, Nepal, the Philippines and South Africa - but travellers will have to pay up to £1,000 for a ticket;

*Labour’s Tony Lloyd, 70, the former Shadow Scottish Secretary, is in a Manchester hospital after contracting coronavirus, the party revealed, saying he was “stable and responding to treatment”;

*Mark Drakeford, Wales' First Minister, has called for an urgent Cobra meeting between the UK's four governments to review coronavirus lockdown measures;

*No 10 said sunbathing was banned under coronavirus-tackling measures but stressed it was up to the police to use "discretion" in enforcing the rules;

*industry figures show the number of new cars sold in the UK in March fell by 44 per cent or just over 200,000, compared with last year and

*the Duchess of Cornwall, 72, has been reunited with the Prince of Wales after coming out of self- isolation at their Scottish retreat at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire - just days before their 15th wedding anniversary.