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Covid-19: UK government’s defence of senior aide has damaged public and NHS confidence, say experts

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2109 (Published 27 May 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2109

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The UK government’s handling of one of its most senior advisers who had seemed to break covid-19 lockdown rules has undermined the public health messaging and “trashed” behavioural advice on how to build trust and secure adherence to the measures needed to control the virus, experts have said.

The prime minister’s senior aide Dominic Cummings admitted to driving 420 km with his wife, who had suspected covid-19, and their child from his home in London to his parents’ estate in Durham. Cummings, who has said he does not regret his actions, travelled despite the government guidance telling people showing symptoms to stay at home and isolate.

In a press conference on 25 May to discuss the upset caused by his actions, which were revealed by the Guardian and Mirror,1 Cummings said that he made the journey as he thought that he might need childcare if he were to become seriously ill. However, he did not check whether he could get …

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