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Boris Johnson will take a “short period” of paternity leave later this year following the birth of his son with fiancee Carrie Symonds, Downing Street has confirmed.

Sky News understands the prime minister wants to focus on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak for now.

“I do expect the prime minister to take a short period of paternity leave later in the year, rather than now,” his spokesman told a Westminster briefing for journalists.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the novel coronavirus, in London

More than 20,000 people have died in hospital with COVID-19 since the UK’s outbreak began, with the nationwide lockdown imposed on 23 March set to be reviewed early next month.

Mr Johnson only returned to Downing Street on Monday after spending time in hospital with the coronavirus, including a number of days in intensive care.

Ms Symonds also suffered from some symptoms of the virus, although she did not require hospital treatment.

After a difficult few weeks, the news of the family’s new arrival was announced on Wednesday morning, with Ms Symonds giving birth at a London hospital.

It is understood that Mr Johnson was present throughout, with the news that he would miss Prime Minister’s Questions revealed shortly before the birth announcement.

The couple are “thrilled” and both mother and baby are “doing very well”, their spokeswoman said.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Prime Minister of Great Britain Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 09, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Number 10 declined to say whether the baby was born prematurely, with Mr Johnson’s spokesman unable to provide details of the weight, timing, nature or location of the birth.

The PM returned to work in Downing Street following the birth.

His spokesman confirmed the new family are planning to live in their Downing Street flat along with their dog Dilyn.

Mr Raab deputised for the PM while he was in hospital, although it is not known whether he will resume that position when Mr Johnson takes paternity leave.

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New fathers are entitled to up to two weeks of statutory paternity leave.

This is paid at £151.20 per week, or 90% of average weekly earnings, depending on which is lower.

Expectant fathers have to give their employer at least 15 weeks’ notice that they intend to take their leave entitlement.

Some couples can take 50 weeks of shared parental leave in the first year following a birth or adoption, although the eligibility criteria for this are narrower.

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Mr Johnson is not the first PM in recent history to welcome a new addition while in Downing Street, following in the footsteps of David Cameron (2010-16) and Tony Blair (1997-2007).

Mr Blair did not to take full paternity leave when his son Leo was born in 2000, the first baby born to a serving PM in 152 years.

However he did say he would temporarily take things easy.

Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha welcomed Florence Rose Endellion into their family in August 2010, with the then-PM taking paternity leave.

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