Dominic Cummings has become the centre of a political storm after it emerged he had taken a 260-mile trip with his son and symptomatic wife to his parent’s home in Durham. This was despite strict Government lockdown rules forbidding non-essential journeys and requiring people with signs of Covid-19 to self-isolate at home.
The Brexiteer strategist denies breaking the rules and says the journey was to secure childcare in case he and his wife both became too unwell. He says options were not available near his home in London.
He added that stories suggesting he had opposed the lockdown and ‘did not care about many deaths’ in order to build ‘herd immunity’ had ‘created a very bad atmosphere around my home.
Mr Cummings said people had come to his house ‘shouting threats’ and that he was concerned the situation would ‘get worse’ and was ‘worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10’.
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In March the strategist denied a report in the Sunday Times that herd immunity was needed to protect the economy and that it would be ‘too bad’ if pensioners died as a result. Downing Street rejected branded the article as ‘a highly defamatory fabrication’.
Denying he opposed lockdown measures at yesterday’s conference, he said: ‘Last year I wrote about the possible threat of coronaviruses and the urgent need for planning.’
In a post on his blog from March last year, Cummings makes reference to an accident at a Chinese lab which led to a cluster of cases of SARS (a type of coronavirus) which led to the death of a researcher in 2004. Yesterday the adviser urged people to read his piece.
But the Wayback Machine – a digital archive showing what webpages looked like at specific dates – shows this quote was added between April and May this year. As recently as April 9, no mention of coronavirus is made.
The BBC’s Faisal Islam said on Twitter that this reference still throws up questions. He added: He literally told us to read his blog about his warnings on this topic – but the only warning on his blog I can find is re protecting biolabs from attack, not eg wet markets, or a virus with no vaccine or treatments – so what exactly is he asking us to infer here?’
It is not known whether Cummings himself made the change or if someone else could have had access to his page.
The blog’s own sitemap shows the edit was made on April 14 – the same day Mr Cummings returned to work in London from Durham.
The PM’s aide’s article mainly focuses warns that ‘the most secure bio-labs routinely make errors that could cause a global pandemic and are ‘about to re-start experiments on pathogens engineered to make them mammalian-airborne-transmissible’.
Experts have dismissed claims by US President Donald Trump that Covid-19 was created in a lab in Wuhan, China’s Hubei Province.
Professor David Robertson has now dismissed his claims, arguing that there is ‘no evidence’ support the theory and stating that people are not ‘clever enough to have designed this virus’.
He told the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee: ‘It seems unlikely given the emergence of an animal market. You have a virus that you think comes from an exotic species and then you have a wildlife market – that seems the most parsimonious explanation.’
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Source: Metro News UK