Matt Hancock just said it is everyone's 'civic duty' to self-isolate seconds after defending Dominic Cummings

Joanna Taylor
Wednesday 27 May 2020 07:15
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Matt Hancock has said that it's the "civic duty" of people with Covid-19 and their families to self-isolate, moments after defending Dominic Cummings's cross-country trips with the virus.

The government has insisted that there's no one rule for the prime minister's senior advisor and one rule for everyone else, but they certainly do seem to be clearer on the rules when they apply to the general public.

Chairing the daily press conference, Hancock said:

If you're phoned up and asked to self-isolate, even through you're perfectly healthy, because you've been in close contact with somebody who's tested positive, then it's your civic duty to then self-isolate for yourself, for your community, for your family.

And we all need to come together to do this, and that will then in turn allow us to lift some of the measures that currently are blanket measures across the whole of society and have to be blanket measures until we have the NHS test and trace system up and running and in place. 

Boris Johnson promised that the NHS test and tracing system would be in place by 1 June. The roll out of a tracing app that has been tested in the Isle of Wight has already been delayed. But other measures are also planned, including a phone campaign.

People who have tested positive with Covid-19 will be phoned and asked who they have been in contact within the past two days. Those people and the patient's family will then also be phoned and asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

There are fears that the government's continued defence of Dominic Cummings could undermine their efforts to convince people to self-isolate.

Elsewhere during the press conference, Hancock described "the description of events" Cummings put forward as "within the guidelines" as he was faced with an "exceptional circumstance". He added that he could "understand some of the anger that boiled up over the weekend", but maintained that Cummings had not broken government rules.

It is undoubtedly wise that we continue to socially distance and self-isolate where necessary to combat the ongoing and devastating effects of Covid-19 and the possibility of a resurgence. But people are questioning the health secretary's ability to attempt to enforce this.

The government has been accused of endangering the public by prioritising protecting their top advisor over clear and consistent messaging on the coronavirus rules. And as much as they now want to treat the matter as having been dealt with, it would appear that the scandal is not going away any time soon.

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