UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back on his feet in his recovery from COVID-19, the government says, as the nation suffered its highest number of deaths in a day.
The death toll rose by 980 to 8958, health minister Matt Hancock said, its biggest daily rise to date.
The toll exceeded the deadliest day reported by Italy on March 28, the country worst hit by the coronavirus.
Mr Hancock urged Britons not to leave their homes over the Easter holidays, during which hot weather is expected.
“This Easter will be another test of the nation’s resolve,” he said at a news conference in Downing Street on Friday (local time).
Mr Hancock confirmed the prime minister’s health was improving after leaving a three-night spell of intensive care on Thursday.
Mr Johnson, who is being treated for COVID-19, is now able to take short walks between periods of rest, as part of the care he was receiving.
“He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care,” a spokesman said.
His spokesman said his recovery was only just beginning and he would take advice from his medical team.
“I was told he was waving his thanks to all of the nurses and doctors he saw as he was moved from the intensive care unit back to the ward,” the spokesman said.
“The hospital said that he was in extremely good spirits last night.”
The prime minister’s rapid health decline shook the country earlier this week when he was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after his symptoms persisted.
“He must rest up,” his father, Stanley Johnson, told BBC radio. “You cannot walk away from this and go straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment.”
Mr Johnson’s pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who has also had coronavirus symptoms, tweeted a rainbow picture – in support of healthcare workers – along with hand-clapping emojis.