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Cummings ‘shows symptoms’ after Johnson tests positive

Image: Cubankite, via Shutterstock

PM’s chief adviser now self-isolating due to Covid-19, according to media reports

The prime minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings has joined the list of those in government showing coronavirus symptoms and self-isolating, according the several media reports on 30 March.

Covid-19 is continuing to spread among some of those most critical to the government’s approach to the pandemic. The news about Cummings comes after the chief medical officer Chris Whitty began self-isolating and prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock both tested positive for the disease last week.

Cummings—a key player in the government’s approach to research—has mused about the dangers of pandemics on his blog in the past, though he was mainly worried about man-made errors that could release dangerous viruses from labs. On 4 March 2019 he wrote “The most secure bio-labs routinely make errors that could cause a global pandemic”.

The spread of the virus among members of the government is likely to increase criticism of it. Last week, Susan Michie, director for University College London’s centre for behavioural change, said it “should not come as a surprise” to hear Johnson and Hancock had tested positive as the House of Commons had been open for business despite widespread social distancing measures and other bodies moving staff to homeworking.

“If leaders do not adhere to their own recommendations, this undermines trust in them which in turn can undermine the population’s adherence to their advice,” she said.