Johnson, who had a spell in ­intensive care in April, says he is now ‘fitter than several butchers’ dogs’

He warns of a ‘very tough’ winter ahead, with difficulties lasting through Christmas and beyond

British Prime Minister

on Sunday said he felt “fitter than several butchers’ dogs” after contracting Covid-19 earlier this year, and that he was sure US President

would be “fine”.

Johnson, who had a spell in ­intensive care in April, told

on the BBC he was not feeling any lingering ­effects and that he had lost weight.

Johnson on Sunday also pointed out that obesity could be a problem when it came to fighting the virus, but did not specifically address Trump’s weight.

“This is an important point, obesity – I’m not making any comment on President Trump – but obesity, since you mention cheeseburgers, is one of the problems that this country needs to address,” Johnson said after being asked if Trump should eat fewer cheeseburgers.

“The most important thing to do is follow his doctors’ advice,” he said.

“When I got this wretched virus, I was too fat,” he said. “The teachable point for us in

is that, as a nation, we are too fat.”

Trump is currently being treated at a

after he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

Johnson said he knew his government’s handling of the pandemic had caused public anger, especially in areas subject to tight lockdown rules, but warned of a “very tough” winter ahead, with difficulties lasting through Christmas and beyond.

“This could be a very tough winter for all of us,” he told the BBC. “It’s going to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond.”

Johnson conceded that the government’s encouragement for people to eat out over the summer may have helped to spread the virus, and also that its test and trace system needed to improve.

Under the “Eat Out to Help Out” drive, the government paid up to £10 (US$13) per person towards the cost of a meal in a restaurant or cafe in an attempt to kick-start the economy and encourage people to spend again after the pandemic lockdown.

“It was very important to keep those jobs going,” Johnson said. “Insofar as that scheme may have helped to spread the virus, then obviously we need to counteract that.”

Of the government’s coronavirus-testing regime, he said it was “not perfect, but it has made a huge difference to our ability to see where the virus is spreading”.

Johnson said it was possible that there would be significant progress on a vaccine by December and that scientists had told him the outlook for the pandemic would be radically different by next spring.

Meanwhile, the leader said he did not particularly wish for the

transition period to end without a new trade deal in place, but believed that Britain could live with such an outcome.

With the December 31 expiry of the transition period fast approaching, Johnson and the head of the European Union’s executive, Ursula von der Leyen, agreed in a phone call on Saturday to step up negotiations on a post-Brexit deal.

“I think it’s there to be done,” Johnson told the BBC. “Alas, there are some difficult issues that need to be fixed, and there’s no question that the EU needs to understand that we’re utterly serious about needing to control our own laws and our own regulations, and similarly they need to understand that the repatriation of the UK’s fisheries … is very important.”

Asked whether he was worried about the potential impact of a no-deal situation in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Johnson said: “I don’t want the Australian WTO-type outcome, particularly, but we can more than live with it.

“I think the people of this country have had enough … of being told that this will be impossible or intolerable,” he said. I think we can prosper mightily under those circumstances.”

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