There are growing calls from across Westminster for the Prime Minister’s chief aide Dominic Cummings to resign after it emerged that he travelled over 250 miles whilst infected with Covid-19 during the UK-wide lockdown in March.
Cummings was present at the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) meetings where the scientific advice called on the government to implement the the lockdown in March and was involved in the writing of Boris Johnson’s speech that clearly told the nation that those with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate at home and parents should not use elderly relatives for childcare during the school closure.
In a speech on 18 March, Johnson said: “I also need to remind parents that, as we have already advised, children should not be left with older grandparents, or older relatives, who may be particularly vulnerable or fall into some of the vulnerable groups and I know that will be difficult too. And I want to thank families for their sacrifice at this difficult time. I want to thank whole country for the efforts people are making to comply with these measures.”
On 26 March the lockdown came into force under the law. Cummings is believed to have started showing symptoms on the 28 March and whilst contagious on 31 March and in direct contravention of the rules, Cummings and his wife drove 260 miles from their home in London to stay on his elderly parents property near Durham.
Durham Police were forced to contact the family to explain the importance of the lockdown rules to prevent the spread of the disease and save lives after they received a complaint from a member of the public who saw Cummings at the property with a young child whilst apparently infectious.
Cummings insists that he and his wife did not breach the rules, but their actions put her parents at risk as well as other members of the public that lived nearby or at any service stations the family stopped at during the road trip north.
Labour has demanded No 10 provide a “swift explanation” for Cummings’ actions.
Downing Street has declined to comment on the story first published in the Guardian and Mirror newspapers, but similar breaches of the rules by Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood and leading scientist Professor Neil Ferguson, who was advising the government, both resulted in resignations and neither of these cases involved knowingly travelling whilst infectious.