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Government will carry on while Prime Minister Boris Johnson is treated in hospital, writes Robert Peston

The Prime Minister is 'first among equals'. Credit: PA

Many of us, especially if we happen to be men, have this slightly crazy idea that the world somehow needs us to keep working, even when we are unwell or in other respects below par.

As a fully paid up work obsessive, I suffer from this delusion.

Work is my drug of choice.

But there are times when we need to look around us and realise that there are people and a machine in place that carries on very effectively while we recuperate.

Obviously running the country matters, whereas what I do for a living doesn't so much.

But the rest of the analogy holds.

The whole point about the way the UK is governed - the country's unwritten constitution - is that its functioning does not depend on any one individual.

Even within the Cabinet, the PM is "primus inter pares", first among equals.

Of course it is shocking when the figurehead and most important member of the Cabinet is incapacitated.

The governing of the UK does not rely on one individual. Credit: PA

This hasn't happened in an extreme way since 1953 when Churchill supposedly had a stroke - though (typical of the times) this was hushed up and (amazingly) he carried on.

We don't know how ill Boris Johnson is, or precisely what treatment he is being given.

Downing Street says his admission to hospital was precautionary - and of course everyone will hope he is fighting fit again soon.

But we do know that in a small percentage of cases Covid-19 becomes a life threatening illness.

And we also know that in many cases it transmutes into something hideous some five to nine days after the onset of fever and persistent cough.

We also know that the PM has had these symptoms for some 10 days.

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak:

Johnson's mantra throughout this crisis is that he is "being led by the science".

It looks as though he has taken that to heart, and is doing as the doctors are ordering.

Which should be reassuring for him, those he is closest to and the country.