Baroness Harding said anyone with symptoms of coronavirus must immediately self-isolate. Her explanation comes as the senior advisor to Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, travelled to Durham from London despite believing to have COVID-19. Alastair Campbell followed this up by writing on Twiter: “Dido’s step one has just confirmed Cummings and wife broke lockdown rules. Arrest the f***ers.”
Speaking at Downing Street, Baroness Harding said: “I want you to feel safe and confident to play an active part in NHS Test and Trace, for you, your loved ones and our country. We do need you to follow the following three steps:
“Step one – if you have one or more of the symptoms of coronavirus, a fever, a new, continuous cough or loss of your sense of taste or smell, you must immediately self-isolate.
“Step two – you should then book a test on the NHS.uk/coronavirus site, or if you don’t have internet access, by dialling 119. Do not leave home for any other reason.
“If you test positive, you will then be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service within 24 hours. All contact tracers have been undergoing training and induction before the beginning of this week and before they start work.”
It comes as Boris Johnson continued to stand by his senior aide Dominic Cummings and insisted it is time to “move on” from the alleged lockdown breaches despite mounting Tory anger and plummeting poll ratings.
The Prime Minister rejected a call on Wednesday for Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill to investigate Mr Cummings’ actions during the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Cummings drove from London to Durham to isolate with his family during the lockdown, and says he subsequently took a trip to Barnard Castle to see if he was fit enough to drive before returning to the capital.
At least 35 Tory MPs have called for Mr Cummings’ departure, while senior minister Penny Mordaunt admitted there were “inconsistencies” in his account and that “there is no doubt he took risks”.
Mr Johnson came under intense questioning in an appearance before the Commons Liaison Committee of senior MPs, during which he announced NHS England’s test and trace programme would be resumed the following day.
“Quite frankly I’m not certain – right now – that an inquiry into that matter is a very good use of official time,” the PM said. “We are working flat out on coronavirus.”
He said he was “deeply sorry for all the hurt and pain and anxiety that people have been going through throughout this period”, but repeatedly insisted it was now time to “move on”.
He argued during the appearance before the committee, comprised of the chairmen and women of Commons select committees, that the public wanted politicians to focus on “uniting our message” and “focusing on their needs”.
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Mr Johnson also admitted it had been a “very frustrating episode”, which he sought to dismiss as a “political ding dong” with inaccuracies but he refused to state which aspects of the allegations were untrue.
And he used his appearance at the committee to announce that NHS England’s test and trace system would be up and running from Thursday.
The scheme will see people who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.
Meanwhile, the toll of deaths linked to the virus rose to almost 48,000.
Published at Wed, 27 May 2020 17:36:00 +0000