Coronavirus: Mayor Tim Shadbolt says city 'so very, very proud' of Invercargill nurse who saved Boris Johnson's life

The Mayor of Invercargill says the city is "so very, very proud" of a local nurse credited with helping save the life of the British Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson paid special tribute to "Jenny from New Zealand" in a video posted online early on Monday (NZ time) after he was discharged from hospital. 

Newshub can reveal the nurse to be Jenny McGee.

Johnson had been in the intensive care unit at St Thomas' Hospital in central London after becoming infected with COVID-19. 

In a video recorded after he was discharged on Sunday (local time), the PM paid tribute to the many NHS workers who cared for him while he was ill.

"I want to thank the many nurses, men and women, whose care has been so astonishing," he said in the video.

He then singled out two nurses in particular "who stood by my bedside for 48 hours when things could have gone either way".

"They are Jenny from New Zealand - Invercargill on the South Island to be exact - and Luis from Portugal, near Porto.

"And the reason in the end my body did start to get enough oxygen was because for every second of the night they were watching and they were thinking and they were caring and making the interventions I needed," he said.

Tim Shadbolt, the Mayor of Invercargill said he was immensely proud of Jenny.

"It's just an incredible honour and she's helped make this city so proud," Shadbolt told Newshub, adding that he believed Jenny's southern roots had given her a good grounding. 

"We like to think we raise people and nurture them and send them out into the world as true professionals."

Although Jenny has not yet spoken publicly about her experience, Shadbolt said he had many Facebook friends in common with her and that she was probably "overwhelmed".

"I mean how often in our history has a young nurse from Invercargill saved the life of a Prime Minister of Great Britain. It's absolutely unbelievable.

"Who would have thought?"

Jenny's brother, Rob McGee, said the family couldn't believe she had been called out by name for thanks.

"We are all very proud of Jen, not just in the support she gave Boris - but what she has been doing helping everyday people," he told NZME.

"She just saw it as another day and kept just saying she is just doing her job.

"Whilst she is blown away by Boris' recognition, she is just really pleased to see the public recognition for the amazing work the NHS is doing - that made her really proud."

Shadbolt said Jenny had the support of the whole community down south.

"Jenny, good on you! We are just so proud of your courage, your commitment - just so very, very proud."

Health workers in the UK have faced increasing pressure as the country's health care system battles to keep up with the virus.

So far there that have been more than 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK.

Johnson, who initially played down the risks of the virus, was admitted to hospital around a week ago, 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

In the video posted online, he said he had personally "seen the pressure" the NHS is under, adding: "It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS  for saving my life."

More than 10,000 people in the UK had lost their lives due to COVID-19.