COVID-19: Downing Street says Boris Johnson was ‘already in Checkers’ when asked to self-isolate – as Keir Starmer slams initial ‘callous’ attempt to ‘dodge’ quarantine

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COVID-19: Downing Street says Boris Johnson was ‘already in Checkers’ when asked to self-isolate – as Keir Starmer slams initial ‘callous’ attempt to ‘dodge’ quarantine


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According to Prime Ministerofficial spokesperson for, he was contacted by NHS Test and Trace while at Checkers this weekend after Health Secretary Sajid Javid tested positive for COVID-19[feminine[feminine.

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The PM explains the U-turn on self-isolation

He confirmed that Mr Johnson had been tested and was negative.

After it was revealed that the Prime Minister and Chancellor had been identified as close contacts of Mr Javid, the government announced that the couple would participate in a pilot program which sees isolation replaced with daily testing.

More there was a quick U-turn following a backlash, Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak are now isolated.

Responding to questions about the row during a regular briefing in Westminster with reporters, the Prime Minister’s spokesman first said Mr Johnson visited Checkers “at the start of the weekend, but I don’t have the exact time ”.

Later in the briefing, the spokesperson said: “I understand that the Prime Minister visited Checkers on Friday. “

The spokesperson then suggested Mr Johnson left for Checkers on ‘Friday morning’, before correcting himself minutes later to say the PM had in fact met Mr Javid on Friday morning and left Downing Street for Checkers at 3 p.m.

“The Prime Minister followed the correct process, he was contacted by NHS Test and Trace and subsequently isolated himself,” he said.

Analysis by Tom Rayner, Digital Policy Editor

As Keir Stamer made his statement live from Labor Party headquarters, political reporters grilled the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson during the regular daily lobby briefing. Some of the “unanswered questions” the Labor leader said Boris Johnson needed to answer were put to the spokesperson almost as he asked them.

On whether the Prime Minister visited his country retreat before the Health Secretary started showing symptoms of COVID, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson was initially vague, saying he had gone to Checkers “early in the weekend”.

Eventually, he confirmed it was 3 p.m. on Friday when the PM left No.10, after meeting Sajid Javid earlier in the morning.

Mr Javid, Downing Street pointed out, only tested positive by lateral flow on Saturday noon, and the result of a confirmatory PCR test was not received until Sunday.

But the initial precariousness of the number 10 timeline may well lead to further questioning of the official account – something the Prime Minister may need to address directly when asking questions at a virtual COVID press conference. later in the day.

The bigger problem, however, is the Prime Minister’s rationale for how he went from non-isolation to self-isolation in just a few hours on Sunday morning.

In a social media video, Boris Johnson said the pilot had only been “briefly considered” but Sir Keir said this was “completely inconsistent” with press advisories posted by Number 10.

Mr Johnson’s spokesperson’s latest explanation – that the PM and Chancellor wanted to ‘make it clear that they are following the broader rules’ – is unlikely to satisfy the Labor leader.

Mr Johnson’s spokesperson declined to answer a question about whether the Prime Minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, was with him at Checkers.

Downing Street has also confirmed that the Chancellor is isolating himself “in his apartment above number 10”, but would not confirm whether other officials have been required to self-isolate.

Sunday morning a statement from Downing Street on behalf of Messrs. Johnson and Sunak said they would participate in a workplace contact testing pilot project rather than self-isolating, before the decision was overturned hours later.

Asked about the reason for this turnaround, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “I think the Prime Minister laid out his reasons in the video he released this weekend.

“We recognize that isolation, given the current high prevalence, is something a number of people experience, and the Prime Minister and Chancellor were keen to make it clear that they were following the broader rules to which a member of the public is currently submitted. .

“Workforce contact test pilots are important because it is helpful to get this information that can help inform future decisions about how contact testing can be used in the future. “

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Javid reveals he tested positive for COVID

Sir Keir said the fury was another example of ministers feeling that there was “one rule for them and another for everyone else”.

“Let’s be clear: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak only isolated themselves because they were arrested,” he said.

“With the cancellation of family events, the shutdown of businesses, and the removal of unpaid workers, Johnson and Sunak’s attempts to avoid isolation were crass and callous.

“At a time when we need to maintain the confidence in self-isolation, parents, workers and businesses will wonder what is going on in Downing Street.

“This is why I wrote to the Prime Minister, because there are still too many unanswered questions. “

Sir Keir has called on the government to release a list of ministers who participated in the trial which sees isolation replaced with daily testing.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson revealed that there are “no defined requirements” for ministers to use the NHS COVID-19 app, but they are encouraged to do so.

He also ruled out adjusting the sensitivity of the app, which was requested amid hundreds of thousands of people who were asked to self-isolate.

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“We recognize that with a high number of cases it also means that a high number of people need to be isolated and this presents significant challenges for businesses,” the spokesperson said.

“We have to find the right balance between protecting lives and livelihoods.

“This is why we think it is only fair that those asked to do so isolate themselves because we know it prevents transmission and alleviates the pressure on our NHS which faces a significant challenge. ”

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