Matt Hancock has told of his concerns at how serious things might get when he was struck down by coronavirus, describing how he lost half a stone during the illness and felt like he had razors in his throat.
The Health Secretary branded the disease “indiscriminate” and said it had left him unable to eat or drink for a few days and he had been unable to sleep.
Mr Hancock, who said he had begun to go “downhill” on March 26, claimed the worst part had been not knowing how bad things might get.
He told BBC Breakfast: “When you’re on the way down it’s really worrying because we can all see just how serious this illness is.
The worst bit was on the way down, worrying how bad it would get because we’ve all seen how bad it can get and it seems to be indiscriminateMatt Hancock
“And, for some people, the people who often get into the worst of health and those who lose their lives, it’s often because the lungs over-react to the virus, there’s an immune response. And you just don’t know if that’s going to happen, so I found it really worrying.”
Having addressed the daily Downing Street press conference on Thursday as his first public appearance back at work, he did a round of media interviews on Friday morning.
Speaking to Good Morning Britain, he said: “I had two days or so when it was like just razors in your throat, a very, very sore throat. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t drink.
“The worst bit was on the way down, worrying how bad it would get because we’ve all seen how bad it can get and it seems to be indiscriminate.”
Describing himself as now being back to “full health”, he said he was relieved to have recovered.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Thankfully I bottomed out and started getting better, and for me it was short-lived and I was able to come back to work yesterday, and I’m in full health. But it is worrying. I’ve lost half a stone, it’s quite a serious impact directly. But thankfully for me I could get through it.”
Mr Hancock said he is continuing to follow social distancing measures because while it is “highly likely” he is immune, it is not certain.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I took advice on that and the advice is it’s highly likely that I am now immune, or have a very high level of immunity.
“But it’s not certain.
“So, like everybody else who has been through it, I am social distancing, just like everybody else.”
During the Good Morning Britain interview which was conducted outdoors in London, he admitted he had been “slightly distracted” due to a heckler who he said was complimenting him.
Laughing, he told the show’s presenters: “I’m being heckled by somebody who’s shouting very nice things. ‘Matt Hancock is great’ – which has never happened to me before.”