Dominic Cummings self-isolates after experiencing coronavirus symptoms

Boris Johnson’s key adviser believed to have mild symptoms including a cough

Dominic Cummings has developed symptoms of coronavirus over the weekend and is self-isolating, a source has confirmed.

Boris Johnson’s key adviser, who was last seen running through Downing Street on Friday, is believed to have experienced mild symptoms including a cough.

The prime minister and the health secretary, Matt Hancock, are already self-isolating after developing symptoms towards the end of last week.

A Whitehall source confirmed a report by the Daily Mail’s Jason Groves that Cummings was still communicating with No 10.

Last week, Downing Street rejected as “a highly defamatory fabrication” a claim that Cummings initially argued against strict measures to contain coronavirus in a view summarised as “if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.

The claim, initially made in the Sunday Times, said that at one private event at the end of February, Cummings outlined the government’s strategy at the time in a way that was summarised by some present as “herd immunity, protect the economy, and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.” A Downing Street spokesman said last week: “This is a highly defamatory fabrication which was not put to No 10 by the Sunday Times before publication. The article also includes a series of apparent quotes from meetings which are invented.”

Johnson tested positive on Friday for coronavirus and is self-isolating in Downing Street. He said he had experienced mild symptoms over the previous 24 hours, including a temperature and cough, but continues to lead the government.

Hancock said he had also tested positive, while England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has shown symptoms.

Cummings, 48, who is a father of one, is believed to be recovering in his family home in north London with his wife, Mary Wakefield, an editor at the Spectator.

A controversial figure and a self-styled political disruptor who helped lead Britain’s pro-Brexit referendum campaign in 2016, he has been blamed for briefing journalists that the UK was seeking herd immunity against the coronavirus. The government and its scientific advisers deny that was ever their strategy.

The government has faced criticism from public health experts for failing to heed their own advice to the public on how to contain the coronavirus through social distancing.

The Scotland secretary, Alister Jack, who sat between Johnson and Hancock at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, confirmed at the weekend that he had a cough and a temperature – common symptoms of coronavirus – and would remain at home, making him the third cabinet minister to shut themselves away.

Parliament has now closed for four weeks as the start of the planned Easter recess was brought forward over concerns about the spread of the virus.

MPs and peers will not return until 21 April at the earliest and even then it night not be business as usual.

The Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, said that “virtual parliament and virtual select committees” could be a possibility as he announced the extended recess on Wednesday evening.

Contributor

Rajeev Syal

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Johnson blocks top scientists from talking about Cummings
PM gags Vallance and Whitty when they are asked if Cummings breached lockdown

Rowena Mason and Peter Walker

28, May, 2020 @6:31 PM

Article image
Did Dominic Cummings break the law on lockdown rules?
Whether PM’s chief adviser contravened regulations depends on definition of ‘reasonable excuse’

Helen Pidd

24, May, 2020 @1:12 PM

Article image
Factchecked: Dominic Cummings’ evidence to MPs on Covid crisis
We check claims made by Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser against the facts

Ben Quinn and Peter Walker

26, May, 2021 @3:16 PM

Article image
Boris Johnson brushes off Tory revolt over Dominic Cummings
PM also refuses to allow top scientific advisers to talk about chief aide at daily No 10 briefing

Rowena Mason and Vikram Dodd

28, May, 2020 @8:19 PM

Article image
Coronavirus symptoms force Boris Johnson to stay in self-isolation
Despite completing seven days of quarantine, PM to stay inside Downing Street flat

Kate Proctor

03, Apr, 2020 @1:44 PM

Article image
Dominic Cummings claims ‘tens of thousands’ died unnecessarily because of way Covid was handled – as it happened
PM’s former adviser says he heard Boris Johnson say he would rather see ‘bodies piled high’; Cummings says ‘tens of thousands died who didn’t need to’

Andrew Sparrow

26, May, 2021 @5:17 PM

Article image
Sage advice about Dominic Cummings' influence | Letters
Letters: Dr Richard Milne says scientists are naturally cautious while those driven by ideology are the polar opposite, Gary Bennett thinks damage may have already been done, Dr Mike Gill suggests that Cummings is an ‘unwanted influence’, while Willy McCourt says the minutes of Sage meetings should be published

Letters

26, Apr, 2020 @4:40 PM

Article image
Human challenge: the people volunteering to be infected with Covid
Amid claims PM wanted to be infected with Covid on TV, volunteers tell of taking part in a human challenge trial

Natalie Grover Science correspondent

01, Jun, 2021 @1:06 PM

Article image
‘I think I behaved reasonably’: Dominic Cummings defends actions in lockdown row
Boris Johnson’s chief adviser refuses to resign in public statement from Downing Street

Rowena Mason

25, May, 2020 @4:30 PM

Article image
Constituents bombard MPs with tens of thousands of emails over Dominic Cummings
Guardian analysis reveals level of hurt and anger over aide’s lockdown trips

Kate Proctor, Jessica Murray and Libby Brooks

29, May, 2020 @5:00 PM