April 23, 2020 / 9:52 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-UK PM Boris Johnson plans return to work as soon as Monday - Telegraph

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April 23 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to return to work as early as Monday to take back control of the coronavirus crisis, the Telegraph reported.

Earlier this month, Johnson was discharged from a London hospital and was continuing his recovery from COVID-19 at his country residence of Chequers.

Johnson is facing criticism from opposition politicians and some epidemiologists for reacting too slowly to the virus outbreak.

Britain is at or near the peak of a health crisis with the number of deaths related to coronavirus hitting 18,738 — the fifth highest national death toll from the pandemic linked to at least 184,900 deaths worldwide.

Ministers have been struggling to explain high death rates, limited testing and shortages of protective kits.

Johnson has told aides to schedule meetings with cabinet ministers next week to get up to speed, the Telegraph reported on Thursday. (bit.ly/352ah5Z)

Ministers are working to roll out a mass testing and tracking programme to try to reduce the rate of transmission and possibly ease stringent measures that have all but shut the economy. (Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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