Dominic Cummings is a hypocrite whose position is “untenable”, the Government’s opponents have said, after it emerged that Boris Johnson’s top adviser breached lockdown rules.
Mr Cummings was investigated by police after he drove from London to Durham with his wife and son to stay with his elderly parents after developing symptoms of coronavirus.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “If accurate, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser appears to have breached the lockdown rules. The Government’s guidance was very clear: stay at home and no non-essential travel.
“The British people do not expect there to be one rule for them and another rule for Dominic Cummings. Number 10 needs to provide a very swift explanation for his actions.”
Ian Blackford, the SNP MP, tweeted: “The position of Dominic Cummings is untenable. Why has @BorisJohnson not sacked him yet. Come on @10DowningStreet where is the decisive leadership that is required!”
Follow the latest updates below.
Brazil’s cases higher than Russia
Brazil overtook Russia on Friday as the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus infections worldwide behind the United States.
The South American country has now registered 330,890 infections and 21,048 deaths from coronavirus, though experts say under-testing means the real figures may be at least 15 times higher.
Brazil’s death toll rose by 1,001 in 24 hours, the third time in four days that it has come in over 1,000.
Case numbers a concern in South America and Africa
South America has become a new epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic with Brazil hardest-hit, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
Cases are rising also in some African countries that so far have a relatively low death toll, WHO said.
“The Covid-19 pandemic today reached a milestone in Africa, with more than 100,000 confirmed cases. The virus has now spread to every country in the continent since the first case was confirmed in the region 14 weeks ago,” WHO said, noting there were 3,100 confirmed deaths on the vast continent.
Study shows placenta injury
The placentas of 16 pregnant women found to have Covid-19 during routine testing at a Chicago hospital all showed evidence of injury.
Researchers said it indicated that women infected with coronavirus may need close monitoring during pregnancy.
Fifteen of the women delivered healthy babies, while one miscarried.
None of the live babies tested positive for Covid-19.
Plans for massive vaccine testing in the US
The United States plans a massive testing effort involving more than 100,000 volunteers and several of the most promising vaccine candidates in an effort to deliver a safe and effective vaccine by the end of 2020, scientists leading the program told Reuters.
The project will compress what is typically 10 years of vaccine development and testing into a matter of months.
It shows the urgency to halt a pandemic that has infected more than five million people, killed more than 335,000 and battered economies worldwide.
Positive signs for plasma transfusions
Patients with severe Covid-19 who were given plasma from someone who recovered from the disease were more likely to stabilise or need less oxygen support than other similar hospital patients, according to results of a small US study released on Friday.
The study showed a trend towards better survival rates, but the number of patients was small and the results cannot be interpreted as applying to patients on mechanical ventilators, researchers at New York’s Mt Sinai Medical Centre said.
Mt Sinai analysed outcomes for 39 hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19 who received convalescent plasma transfusions compared to outcomes for patients with a carefully matched medical status.
NBA basketball star tests positive
New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing has tested positive for Covid-19.
The 57-year-old, who played 17 seasons in the NBA and who is now the head coach of Georgetown University’s men’s basketball team, said he wanted to share his diagnosis publicly to emphasise that the virus can affect anyone.
“I want to share that I have tested positive for Covid-19,” he announced on Twitter.
“This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.”
Georgetown Athletics said Ewing is under care and isolated at a local hospital, and added that he is the only member of the Georgetown men’s basketball program to have tested positive for the virus.
Starmer calls for consensus over reopening schools
Sir Keir Starmer’s children have been able to go to school during the coronavirus pandemic, the Labour leader has disclosed, as he urges Boris Johnson to work with parents and unions to build a consensus for primaries to reopen in England next month.
The Labour leader said in an interview today that he knew the importance of keeping children in education because his son and daughter had both attended local state schools in his north London constituency during the lockdown as Sir Keir’s wife Victoria is a key worker in the National Health Service.
Source: Telegraph UK