Dominic Cummings will make an unprecedented public statement this afternoon.
The Downing Street aide will also take questions from the press regarding his 260 mile journey to Durham during the coronavirus lockdown.
His trip has angered members of the public, including a grieving mum whose son caught coronavirus and died during leukaemia treatment in hospital.
Louise Bennett’s 14-year-old son Fred contracted Covid-19 during the lockdown and was receiving treatment for leukaemia when he died in hospital on May 3.
The mum, from Rugby, Warwickshire, said the treatment of Mr Cummings’ actions as a special case is “offensive to every family” forced to make difficult decisions and huge sacrifices during the lockdown.
The Mirror revealed how Mr Cummings travelled to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family while official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys, apparently because he feared that he and his wife would be left unable to care for their son.
Further reports also suggested he took a second trip to the North East in April, which he denies.
Follow our live blog below for the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic in the UK and around the world.
And sign up to get the Mirror’s daily coronavirus briefing email at mirror.co.uk/email – in your inbox after the press conference every evening.
UK coronavirus death toll hits 29,812 as 77 more die in hospitals
A total of 29,812 have now lost their lives to Covid-19 in UK hospitals.
In England 25,751 people have now died in hospitals, an increase of 59 over yesterday’s 25,692 total.
A total of 2,273 people have died of Covid-19 in Scotland, up three from 2,270 yesterday.
There are 1,269 people in Scottish hospitals with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 60.
In Wales a further seven people lost their lives to the disease, adding to yesterday’s total of 1,267 so far.
There were 106 new infections recorded in the country, bringing the total to 13,415 overall.
In Northern Ireland 514 people have succumbed to the disease, an increase of eight in the past day.
Click here for more analysis of the latest figures.
Eight more deaths reported in Northern Ireland
The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Northern Ireland has risen to 514 after eight more deaths were reported by the Department of Health.
The department also reported a further 39 cases of confirmed Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases in Northern Ireland to 4,609.
The number of people tested for the virus over the last 24 hours was 1,084.
Violent fight filmed breaking out on plane after ‘one passenger touches another’
A disturbing video shows how an ugly air rage fight broke out on a Russian flight.
The punch-up came soon after the aircraft landed in Moscow having flown from the Black Sea resort Sochi.
It was triggered when one male passenger got up from his seat and rushed towards the door.
Witnesses said he crashed into seated passengers on the Ural Airlines Airbus A320, where social distancing measures were in place.
“Almost immediately after landing, he jumped up and headed for the exit,” said passenger Marina P.
“He walked quickly between the rows, crashing into seated people.
“One man told him ‘Watch out!’”
The verbal intervention led to an angry exchange between the two men.
Barnard Castle TripAdvisor flooded with fake reviews due to Dominic Cummings row
Barnard Castle is being bombarded with fake TripAdvisor reviews after Dominic Cummings and his family were allegedly spotted there.
Retired teacher Robin Lees, 71, has said that he believes he spotted the PM’s aide walking by the river near Barnard Castle, Country Durham, on April 12.
The ex-teacher says he saw Cummings with his wife and child and noted down the licence plate.
He yesterday reported his sighting of Mr Cummings to the police.
Now a spate of tongue-in-cheek reviews have been left for the famous castle on TripAdvisor, poking fun at the political aide over the claims.
One ‘D.Cummings’ joked: “Had a lovely trip to Barnard Castle and Durham in general.
“I had a bit of a cough so thought I’d get away from the city and stroll about doing whatever I want.
“I know the law says not the travel unnecessarily but I’ve got a mate in a high place so I’m not worried about adhering to rules.
“If all else fails I’ll blame the kids. Lovely spot though, I licked everything while I was there.”
Denmark ‘to let cross-border couples meet if they show photos and love letters’
Denmark eased its border controls with other Nordic countries and Germany on Monday, allowing cross-border couples separated by the coronavirus lockdown to meet again if they can prove they have been in a relationship for at least six months.
The Danish police said couples would need to show shared text messages, private photos or personal information about their partner.
“They can bring along a photo or a love letter,” deputy chief Allan Dalager Clausen told Danish broadcaster DR.
“I realise these are very intimate things, but the decision to let in the partner ultimately rests on the judgment of the individual police officer,” he said.
Man who couldn’t hold wife’s hand when she died of virus shares Cummings ‘rage’
A heartbroken widower who couldn’t hold his wife’s hand as she died with coronavirus has written a powerful letter based on his outrage over Dominic Cummings’ lockdown breach.
John Wilson, from Whitchurch, Buckinghamshire, told how his “astonishing” wife of almost 50 years, Pauline, a teacher, lost her battle in hospital in late March less than 48 hours after she called him from her hospital bed.
Her death came on the weekend that Mr Cummings is said to have developed Covid-19 symptoms and around the same time Boris Johnson’s chief aide made the 250 mile journey from London to his parents’ home in Durham to self-isolate with his wife and four-year-old son.
In a letter to his local Tory MP, Mr Wilson told of his “rage” and how the lockdown prevented him from seeing his wife in hospital for two weeks before she died, and hit out at Boris Johnson’s refusal to sack his chief aide Mr Cummings.
‘Following the rules that are still in place will continue to be essential’ – Sturgeon
The First Minister continued: “Even as we glimpse a possible end to some lockdown restrictions, following the rules that are still in place will continue to be essential.
“In fact in many ways that will be more important than ever. After all as we start to lift these restrictions there is a genuine danger that the virus will start to spread again a bit more quickly.
“The way we ensure that doesn’t happen, and the way in which we enable even more restrictions to be lifted in future, is to continue to follow whatever public health guidance is in place at the time.”
Nicola Sturgeon says after Thursday advice will still be ‘stay at home as much as possible’
Nicola Sturgeon said after Thursday the advice would still be for people to “stay at home as much as possible”.
And she said while people would be allowed to meet others outside, they should “think carefully, very carefully” about the number of people they come into contact with.
“Many of the current lockdown rules will still be in place, and it will vital everybody sticks to those,” the First Minister said.
She said people had been asked to make “tough” sacrifices during the restrictions, adding: “These sacrifices have been for a purpose.
“It is because so many people have stuck to these rules that the number of deaths from Covid in Scotland has finally fallen over the past few weeks.”
There will be clear decision on whether Scotland will ease restrictions on Thursday
Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday – the day the Scottish Government is next due to review the lockdown – there would be a “clear decision” made on whether Scotland was moving to the first phase of the four-part plan to ease restrictions.
“Our current expectation is we will be able to announce a relaxation of some of those restrictions,” she said.
This will focus at first on outdoor activities, the First Minister said, adding she would expect changes to come into force from Friday.
The First Minister told Scots: “We will give you careful information as we go through this week about what rules are changing, what measures are in place to help you and what you should be considering as you decide what you can and can’t do.”
The Scottish Government will also announce more details of its “test and protect” system on Tuesday, along with a plan for how public transport can operate safely while Covid-19 is still in circulation.
Ms Sturgeon said this would include the “clear expectation” that people on public transport would wear face coverings.
New guidance for different sectors of the economy will also be made public this week – with this currently being finalised with industry groups, trade unions and public health experts.
Covid-19 deaths in Sweden top 4,000
The death toll from the outbreak of coronavirus in Sweden has topped 4,000, statistics published by the Public Health Agency showed on Monday.
The data published on the agency’s website showed that deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, had risen to 4,029 from 3,998 a day earlier while the number of confirmed cases amounted to 33,843 up from 33,459.
Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.
Ian Blackford urges Dominic Cummings to resign in press briefing
Ian Blackford, Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party,has been quick to give his take on Dominic Cumming’s planned press conference.
He tweeted: “This should be a resignation statement not a PR exercise. It is about taking responsibility.
“When Catherine Calderwood apologised she recognised it wasn’t enough and resigned to protect confidence in the public health message.
“That is also what the Conservative Party demanded.”
Dominic Cummings to make public statement today over coronavirus lockdown trip
Dominic Cummings will make an unprecedented public statement today over his 260-mile drive in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.
Downing Street confirmed the PM’s top advisor will make the highly unusual move hours after his actions were defended by the Prime Minister.
He will also take questions, according to reports.
“I am not sure I have felt, in my ten years as an MP, so frustrated, cross, confused…”
Conservative MP and former minister Tracey Crouch posted on Facebook: “I am not sure I have felt, in my ten years as an MP, so frustrated, cross, confused or impotent as I do now.”
She added: “I have had to tell people they can’t go to funerals, say goodbye to the ones they love, see the family newborns that they will grow to love, visit the graves of parents, siblings or worse, children, and visit friends who are dying.
“Should Dominic resign or be sacked? This is not for me to say and I don’t recall calling for anyone in any party to go over mistakes.”
Ms Crouch continued: “I am pretty peed off though. At a time when we should be still focusing on the remaining weeks of this pandemic, spending my days replying to understandably cross and angry constituents is not what I should be doing.
“And this is also why I feel impotent in many respects. Lockdown is not over yet. I have to keep interpreting guidance and saying to constituents you can or you cannot do x, y, z. At the moment, and quite frankly, that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”
Another three coronavirus patients die in Scotland
A total of 2,273 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by three from 2,270 on Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon said.
The First Minister said 15,156 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 55 from 15,101 the day before.
There are 1,269 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 60.
Of these, 40 were in intensive care, a fall of four.
‘Dominic Cummings should be ashamed – I missed my brother’s funeral in lockdown’
A grieving woman who couldn’t attend her brother’s funeral due to the coronavirus lockdown law has hit out at Dominic Cummings for breaking rules aimed at saving lives.
Government guidelines that Mr Cummings helped to create meant Diane Nowell couldn’t visit or grieve with her heartbroken parents after her brother, aged in his early 60s, died in hospital in early May.
His final days were spent on a coronavirus-free ward and his family was told only one relative could be with him and they would have to then self-isolate for 14 days due to measures intended to curb the spread of Covid-19.
In a blistering takedown in the Guardian, Ms Nowell reflected on not being able to comfort her parents, in their 80s, as they shielding at home, writing: “The apparent insouciance with which he travelled the length of the country for reasons most people would judge less pressing than the death of an immediate family member.
“How can the government say it was OK for him to do that, while having asked so much of the rest of us? How are we to think now of the sacrifices we made? Were they in vain – or were we just not important enough to be permitted to bend the rules?”
Shadow health secretary says inbox full of emails from people furious about Cummings
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted: “Like other MPs commenting my inbox is chockablock with emails from constituents furious about Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson’s blase endorsement of his action. The hypocrisy stinks and people know it.
“This isn’t an orchestrated email lobbying exercise, these are not cut and paste messages from a campaign’s website. Each email written with raw emotion – grandparents who haven’t seen children, sons and daughter worried about elderly mums and dads.”
He added: “We know covid is deadly and spread with speed. It exploits ambivalence and is opportunistic. (To) openly disregard guidelines when you are part of the team in PM’s office drawing them up is totally irresponsible.
“In a pandemic everyone must adjust their behaviour to protect us all, how can Matt Hancock expect adherence to social distancing requirements while endorsing breaches like this. They are taking the British public for fools.
“Arguably more burdensome social distancing measures are on way. For test, trace and isolate to work and easing of lockdown to be safe we will have to isolate for 14 days if requested by a tracer. Does Boris Johnson expect that to happen while Cummings’ behaviour is endorsed?”
Mr Ashworth concluded: “Finally Boris Johnson said in his letter he mailed to everyone paid for by taxpayer we must all stay at home. It really is one rule for him and his elite friends and another for rest of us.”
Pizza Express in talks to ‘permanently close hundreds of UK restaurants’
Pizza Express could be forced to permanently close a number of UK restaurants as debts continue to pile up amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The struggling chain is reportedly considering a restructuring process known as a CVA, which would allow it to exit some or all of its loss-making sites and reach an agreement with creditors.
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, forcing restaurants to close, fewer than 10 of the chain’s venues were loss-making, a spokesman told Mirror Money.
But it is understood the crisis has forced the firm to evaluate options for ensuring its future viability and a CVA is one of several possibilities.
Man Utd waive loan fees for young stars to help clubs through coronavirus crisis
As clubs lower down the food chain feel the economic impact of the virus outbreak, United chiefs have accepted a £130,000 loss rather than demand the fees owed for three transfers.
Goalkeepers Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara are on loan at Hearts and Burton Albion respectively, while Bolton currently have midfielder Ethan Hamilton in their ranks.
As reported by The Mail, members of the United hierarchy have decided it would be unfair to put further financial pressure on those clubs when they are already having to deal with losses from a lack of matchday income.
‘Scotland must avoid scenes of overcrowding on public transport as lockdown eases’
Scotland must avoid scenes of overcrowding on public transport as the lockdown eases, Scottish Labour has said.
With a “transport transition” plan due to be published on Tuesday, the party says trains and buses must have screens and other safety measures in place to protect staff and passengers.
The use of face coverings on public transport could become mandatory under this plan, but it is currently unclear if masks will be handed out to passengers.
The need to ensure physical distancing means capacity on individual buses and trains will be around 10% to 25% of usual numbers.
British Airways ‘to axe 43,000 workers and rehire them on half the pay’
British Airways is reportedly planning to axe thousands of workers and rehire them on half the pay as it pushes through controversial new contract changes.
The airline, which has already confirmed plans to cut up to 12,000 roles, including 1,130 pilots, said it has entered consultation with colleagues.
In a letter sent to staff a fortnight ago, British Airways set out new terms and conditions on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s now emerged that workers are also being sent redundancy notices – which are due to end on June 15.
BA’s cabin crew is divided up into three parts – long haul (legacy), short haul (legacy), and a lower-paid, newer ‘mixed fleet’ who fly both long haul and within Europe.
However, the airline is reportedly now in talks to combine everyone into a single work group, at a lower pay.
A British Airways spokesman was unable to deny the allegations.
Expert warns ‘people will die’ after PM ‘trashes’ lockdown to save Cummings
A scientific advisor to the government has warned “more people will die” after Boris Johnson twisted lockdown rules to save his top advisor.
Professor Stephen Reicher hit out after the PM claimed Dominic Cummings’ 260-mile drive from London to Durham in late March followed “every father’s instinct”.
The expert said the row had undermined the pledge that “we’re all in this together” – and that will affect people’s willingness to follow lockdown.
“There’s a very clear sense now that there are different rules, that we’re divided, and that government is looking after themselves in a way they’re not looking after us,” he told the Mirror.
“The problem is of course that if adherence falls, the infection will rise and people will die.”
Durham Police formally asked to investigate if Dominic Cummings broke the law
Durham Police has formally been asked to “establish the facts” around Dominic Cummings’ visit – including whether he broke the law.
Acting Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Steve White has today written to the force’s Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, to establish whether any rules were broken in the visit at the end of March.
It comes after ministers vehemently denied Mr Cummings broke any lockdown rules or laws, despite driving 260 miles to stay near family while national orders were to “stay at home”.
‘People who make the rules cannot break them or there will be chaos’
Durham’s former chief constable Mike Barton said the people who make the rules cannot break them or there will be “chaos”.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Barton added: “Policing the lockdown has probably been one of the toughest assignments ever given to the British police and they have risen to the challenge.
“But what the Prime Minister did yesterday has now made it exponentially tougher for all those people on the front line, those PCSOs (police community support officers) and cops on the front line, enforcing the lockdown.
“We are in the middle of a national emergency and people who make the rules cannot break the rules, otherwise we are going to have chaos.”
Cummings’ actions ‘made a mockery of police enforcement of lockdown’
Dominic Cummings’ actions have made a “mockery” of police enforcement of lockdown measures, a police and crime commissioner has said.
Gloucestershire’s independent police and crime commissioner Martin Surl told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday that Mr Cummings’ actions will make it much harder to enforce lockdown restrictions.
He added: “I think it makes it much harder for the police going forward – this will be quoted back at them time and time again when they try to enforce the new rules.
“But I think more importantly it makes something of a mockery of the police action going back when the message was very, very clear: stay at home.
“The police had to deliver a very harsh, very difficult message and now it appears people could act differently, so I think it does undermine the policing going back and their confidence, and going forward it will be more difficult, but they will cope, they always do.”
Germany ‘considering some social easing but restrictions to remain’
The German federal government is recommending that states ease some social distancing regulations from June 6, Bild newspaper reported, but continues to urge that limits be placed on size of social gatherings.
According to an official paper seen by the newspaper, Helge Braun, head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office, recommended that private gatherings be held in the open air where possible and be limited to 20 people, while indoor meetings should be limited to 10 people.
Nicola Sturgeon ‘optimistic’ she will be able to ease some lockdown measures this week
Nicola Sturgeon is “very hopeful and optimistic” she will be able to announce an easing of some coronavirus lockdown measures later this week.
The First Minister said the current data suggested that Scotland will be able to move into phase one of lifting the restrictions and return “to a greater degree of normality”.
With the Scottish Government legally required to review the guidelines on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon is expected to announce certain outdoor activities can resume, in addition to being able to meet people from other households.
While Ms Sturgeon stressed that any lockdown easing depends on continuing to control the spread of the virus, she said: “From the perspective I have right now, on Monday morning of this week, yes I am very hopeful and optimistic that we will be able to move to phase one.”
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, she added: “The data rate now would suggest that is the case, but of course I’ve got to formally assess that on Thursday.
Bruno Fernandes provides insight on how he stunned Man Utd with test results
Bruno Fernandes has provided insight on how he has improved his speed during the lockdown – revealing his young daughter keeps him on his toes.
Fernandes returned to Manchester United’s Carrington training ground last week for the first in two months, after it was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Each Red Devils player had been using STATSsport equipment while in lockdown, so that United could keep track on each individual’s fitness.
The results were published as players returned to training, and it was found that Fernandes somehow managed to quicken his pace while training in isolation.
The hard-working Portuguese has since opened up on his experience of training during the lockdown, and has suggested his active three-year-old Matilde – who he admits has more energy than he does – has kept him on his toes.
Gogglebox’s Jenny moves out of caravan after self-isolating with Lee for 9 weeks
Gogglebox stars Jenny and Lee are moving out of their now-iconic caravan in Hull.
To finish out the remainder of the latest series – which concluded last week – Jenny and Lee moved in together so they would be observing social distancing guidelines while filming.
According to Hull Live, the pair had been living together for nine weeks to keep filming as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, fans were left shocked as Jenny and Lee spoke about separating as the latest run of the show came to an end on Friday.
Mum whose son died in lockdown blasts PM’s defence of Cummings
A grieving mum whose son caught coronavirus and died during leukaemia treatment in hospital has angrily rejected Dominic Cummings’ excuse for breaking the lockdown..
Louise Bennett has also hit out at Boris Johnson and senior cabinet ministers who defended the Prime Minister’s chief aide amid public fury and calls for him to resign or be sacked.
Mrs Bennett’s 14-year-old son Fred contracted Covid-19 during the lockdown and was receiving treatment for leukaemia when he died in hospital on May 3.
The mum, from Rugby, Warwickshire, said the treatment of Mr Cummings’ actions as a special case is “offensive to every family” forced to make difficult decisions and huge sacrifices during the lockdown.
Click here for the full story.
Family of mum who died from COVID-19 after being spat at say ‘life is ruined’
The husband of a railway worker who died from coronavirus after she was spat at said her loss has ‘destroyed the whole world for him and his daughter’.
Lusamba Katalay has spoken out for the first time after the tragic death of 47-year-old Belly Mujinga was revealed by the Mirror earlier this month.
The former BBC journalist, who had suffered long-term respiratory problems, died in hospital on April 5 – 13 days after a passenger is alleged to have spat at her and an unnamed colleague at Victoria Station.
Her colleague also contracted Covid-19 but recovered.
Lusamba, 60, has spoken out as the Home Secretary Priti Patel pledged to double the maximum common assault jail sentence to 12 months for anyone who spits at a key worker.
The full article is here.
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