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'Herd immunity' champion gets virus


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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings reportedly supported the "herd immunity" strategy.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings reportedly supported the "herd immunity" strategy.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser has been self-isolating since the weekend, after developing coronavirus-like symptoms, No 10 has confirmed.


Officials could not say if Dominic Cummings was working from home or if he was too unwell to do so, but Isaac Levido, the Australian political strategist who played a key role in the Conservatives' successful win in the December election, has since been brought back into the Government to bolster the response to the virus. A Downing Street spokesman insisted the two events were not linked.


"Isaac is working on all aspects of the response. We have brought in a number of people as contractors," he said. "The two things aren't related."


No 10 was recently forced to deny allegations that Cummings had supported the "herd immunity" concept after sources present at a private engagement claimed he implied, "if some pensioners die, too bad".


He was reported to have become convinced that the practice of herd immunity – where large numbers of people become infected and develop immunity so the more vulnerable do not contract the virus – was the correct course of action for the UK to take, before having a "penny-drop" moment, where he changed his mind. At the time Downing Street dismissed it as a "highly defamatory fabrication".


Sunday Times today. Oh God, no


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8:47 AM - Mar 22, 2020



Cumming's isolation comes after the Prime Minister last week became the first world leader to test positive for the virus. Hours after Johnson revealed he had tested positive, Matt Hancock, his Health Secretary, confirmed he, too, had contracted coronavirus, while David Frost, the UK's Brexit negotiator, was forced to self-isolate after presenting symptoms.


At the weekend, Alister Jack, the Scotland Secretary, who sat between Johnson and Hancock at Prime Minister's Questions last week, confirmed he had a cough and temperature - making him the third Cabinet minister to self-isolate.


Johnson has continued to work, which he said was possible due to the "wizardry of modern technology". He continues to communicate with Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, who is also self-isolating, via video link and was chaired the daily Covid-19 meeting on Monday morning.


The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "He is working from the Chancellor's office and has been able to do everything he needs to do to lead the coronavirus response."


If Johnson's condition were to deteriorate and he was no longer able to work, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, would be next in line to step in.


So far the number to have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK rose to 1408 on Monday.



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