UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday revealed for the first time after recovering from coronavirus that he was really in very bad condition and doctors were prepared to announce his death after he was taken to intensive care.
"It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it," he was quoted as saying by the Sun on Sunday newspaper in an interview. "They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario.
"I was not in particularly brilliant shape and I was aware there were contingency plans in place. The doctors had all sorts of arrangements for what to do if things went badly wrong."
Johnson, 55, first announced he had contracted COVID-19 on March 27 but maintained he had only mild symptoms. Yet he failed to shake the illness after a week of self-isolation.
He was taken to hospital as a precaution on April 5 for further tests but within 24 hours was moved to intensive care.
The Conservative party leader spent three days receiving "oxygen support", and admitted after his discharge on April 12 that his fight with the virus "could have gone either way".
But although he told the newspaper he did think "how am I going to get out of this?", he did not think at any point he was going to die.
Johnson, who returned to work last Monday and became a father again when his fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth on Wednesday, said he was given "litres and litres" of oxygen in hospital.
He said he felt frustrated he was not getting better but the reality hit home when doctors were deliberating whether to intubate him and put him on a ventilator.
"That was when it got a bit... they were starting to think about how to handle it presentationally," he told the weekly tabloid.