The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who has been down with coronavirus infection, lately complained of rising fever.
His eyes had the tired and shot look of a man struggling with illness, his unshaven face was pallid and he seemed to have lost weight, the Mail Online report said.
But he remained stoically upright as he joined in the mass applause for the NHS and if the usual ebullience was missing there was at least a flicker of determination.
This was the first sighting of the Prime Minister on his feet for seven days after succumbing to the coronavirus and his appearance was in stark contrast to that of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has made a far swifter recovery from the symptoms.
At 41 Mr Hancock is 14 years the PM’s junior and it is impossible to know if he contracted a milder version of the illness.
All the same, Mr Johnson’s washed-out look triggered alarm on social media about just how unwell he has been.
It may also explain why some 12 hours later the Prime Minister felt it necessary to give an update on his condition in a video message.
In it he said he was still suffering from a high temperature – which he took himself – and so was remaining in self-isolation.
But he also insisted that he was feeling better. For eight days Boris has been quarantined from other ministers and officials as he has fought the virus.
According to sources, he has spent a lot of time sleeping as extreme exhaustion is one of the key features of the illness. One says: ‘It has hit him hard, really slammed him but it’s in his nature to put the bravest face on it.’
In the videos posted by No 10 he has looked worse as the week has gone on. However, he has manfully appeared to chair every single Covid Cabinet meeting – at 9.15am each day using the Zoom video conferencing app – since the diagnosis.
On Wednesday, by all accounts, he even read ministers and officials the riot act over the testing fiasco. This is both admirable and characteristic as he has promised the nation he will personally lead the fight against the pandemic. But is it wise?
Might he have made a fuller recovery had he concentrated on his own health? This is not the Johnson way, of course. So how has the prisoner of Downing Street been getting on?