BORIS Johnson is on the mend and sitting up in bed, talking to NHS staff, as he recovers from the symptoms of coronavirus, Rishi Sunak has said.

The Chancellor told the Downing St daily press briefing: “The latest from the hospital is that the Prime Minister remains in intensive care, where his condition is improving. I can also tell you he has been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team.”

He added: “The PM is not only my colleague and my boss but also my friend and my thoughts are with him and his family.”

Later, No 10 said Mr Johnson "continues to make steady progress". 

Earlier, updating reporters, it said he was "responding to treatment" and remained in a stable condition in the intensive care unit at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. Again, he was described as being in “good spirits” as he prepared to spend a fourth night in hospital, his third in intensive care.

The PM’s spokesman had previously explained how Mr Johnson, 55, was just receiving "standard oxygen treatment" and was "breathing without any other assistance".

When asked about further specifics of his condition or treatment, he said the update included all the information the PM's medical team "considers to be clinically relevant".

Mr Johnson was rushed to hospital on Sunday evening after suffering from the symptoms of coronavirus for 10 days; usually most people recover after seven.

On Tuesday, in an echo of the clap for the NHS, some members of the public engaged in a “clap for Boris” with some posting video messages of support and others leaving their homes to applaud the PM.

It is thought that even if the PM were healthy enough to leave hospital in the next few days, the likelihood is that he will be advised to rest and recuperate away from his Downing St desk for several days if not weeks.