PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has received “oxygen support” but is not on a ventilator, senior cabinet minister Michael Gove has confirmed.

The news comes after Mr Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital last night as what was said to be a “precaution” in case he needed to be put on a ventilator.

“He is kept, of course, under close supervision, ” Mr Gove told LBC radio.

“By being in intensive care if there is further support he needs it is there at hand.

“But the Prime Minister has not been on a ventilator.”

In Mr Johnson’s absence, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State, is standing in for him “where necessary”.

The deterioration in the Prime Minister’s condition comes at a critical moment in the coronavirus crisis, the epidemic is expected to reach its peak in the UK in the coming days.

Ministers have insisted the business of government will carry on as usual.