Coronavirus: Top UK official travelled across England while showing COVID-19 symptoms

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls from opposition parties to sack adviser Dominic Cummings after he travelled 400km to northern England while his wife showed COVID-19 symptoms.

Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum, travelled to Durham in late March when a strict lockdown was already in place.

Johnson's office said Cummings made the journey to ensure his young son could be properly cared for, as his wife was ill with COVID-19 and there was a "high likelihood" that Cummings would himself become unwell.

"I behaved reasonably and legally," Cummings told reporters outside his house on Saturday after telling them to stay two metres apart in accordance with government guidelines.

When a reporter said it did not look good, he said: "Who cares about good looks - it's a question of doing the right thing it's not about what you guys think."

Downing Street said his "actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines".

"I can tell you that the PM provides Cummings with his full support," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told reporters on Saturday.

Johnson's most senior ministers, including Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, defended Cummings.

But opposition parties called for Johnson to sack Cummings and said the lockdown rules made clear that those with suspected COVID-19 symptoms should isolate with their whole household.

"The Prime Minister's chief adviser appears to believe that it is one rule for him and another for the British people," the Labour Party said.

"We are still unclear who knew about this decision and when, whether this was sanctioned by the Prime Minister."

Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.
Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings. Photo credit: Reuters/Getty

The Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats called for Cummings to be sacked.


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