Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms

30 March 2020, 10:29

Dominic Cummings
Dominic Cummings. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, a Downing Street source has confirmed.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus last week.

Mr Cummings, who is widely considered to be Mr Johnson's key advisor, was reportedly behind the "herd immunity" strategy which has been swiftly abandoned in place of a nationwide lockdown.

Shortly after news of Mr Johnson's positive result was made public, Mr Cummings was seen running out of Number 10 and straight down Downing Street clutching a large rucksack, in footage that was largely mocked online.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock's also recovering from the virus, and England's Chief medical officer Chris Whitty also has symptoms.

Mr Cummings will be in close contact with the rest of the Downing Street team as he self-isolates for the recommended 14 days.

Mr Johnson has promised Brits will get through the coronavirus pandemic "together" after one of the UK medical chiefs warned it may be "six months" before life goes back to normal.

Speaking via a Twitter video - a channel of communication likely to be used as the PM self-isolates - he praised the 750,000 volunteers who have offered to assist the NHS.

Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries said the nation will not be in "complete lockdown" for half a year but said social distancing measures will be lifted gradually - which could take as long as six months.

But there are still reports emerging of Brits flouting the lockdown, including one group who decided to have a large karaoke party, people playing football, and MP Stephen Kinnock visiting his father for his birthday.