NEWS
24/05/2020 09:57 BST | Updated 24/05/2020 21:09 BST

Coronavirus: Tory MP Says Dominic Cummings 'Must Go', And Four Other Stories You Need To Know

Fresh allegations against the PM's top aide suggest he broke lockdown rules on three separate occasions. Here's the latest.

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A Tory MP has said the Dominic Cummings ‘must go’ after fresh allegations of the senior aide taking multiple trips from London to Durham during lockdown surfaced on Sunday morning.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 36,675 people have died of coronavirus in the UK and 257,154 have tested positive. 

Here’s the latest: 

PM faces growing pressure to sack top aide as Tory MP says Dominic Cummings ‘must go’ 

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dominic Cummings, pictured outside his home on Saturday. 

A Conservative MP has called for Dominic Cummings to resign after fresh allegations emerged that the senior advisor may have travelled from London to Durham three times during lockdown to visit family. 

Boris Johnson is now facing intense pressure to dismiss his top aide after fresh allegations were made against Cummings on Saturday evening, sparking further outrage from politicians and the public alike. 

Tory MP Steve Baker, speaking on the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, said, it was time for Dominic Cummings to go.

“If he doesn’t resign, we’ll just keep burning through Boris’s political capital at a rate we can ill afford in the midst of this crisis,” he said.

“It is very clear that Dominic travelled when everybody else understood Dominic’s slogans to mean ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’.

“And I think mums and dads who very much care about their children and who have been forgoing the childcare of their extended family will wonder why he has been allowed to do this.

“I really just don’t see, as we approach the Prime Minister (appearing) at the liaison committee on Wednesday, how this is going to go away unless Dominic goes.”

Writing in The Critic Magazine, Baker also said that Cummings “must go”, adding ”“Time is up. It is time for Dom to resign so Boris can govern within the conventions and norms which will see us through.”

Damian Collins, the Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, meanwhile, said in a tweet: “Dominic Cummings has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt.

“The government would be better without him.”

Senior Tory ministers on Saturday rallied around Cummings with near-identical messages of support, with Michael Gove writing: “Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.” 

In a statement published on Saturday evening, Downing Street said it would “not waste time” replying to the fresh allegations from “campaigning newspapers”.

New York Times fills entire front page with the names of almost 1,000 coronavirus victims 

AGUSTIN PAULLIER via Getty Images
The names of almost 1,000 victims have been printed on the front page of the paper. 

As the US death toll nears 100,000 the New York Times has covered their entire front page with the names and details of almost 1,000 people who have died of the virus. 

As of Saturday more than 97,000 people in the US had died from complications of Covid-19, meaning the front page represents only an estimated 1% of the death toll.

The victims’ stories were pulled from obituaries published in newspapers across the country, and are displayed one after the other – filling six tall columns that stretch across a majority of the Times’ front page.

In a preview of the paper published Saturday, viewers can zoom in on each name to read about the victims’ lives:

“Lila Fenwick, 87, New York City, first black woman to graduate from Harvard Law School.”

“Mike Field, 59, Valley Stream, N.Y., first responder during the 9/11 attacks.”

“Jessica Beatriz Cortez, 32, Los Angeles, immigrated to the United States three years ago.”

With the obituaries, the Times reminds readers who these people are.

“They were not simply names on a list. They were us.”

New reports finds delay in imposing lockdown saw cases rise by 1.3m in nine days

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The government’s hesitance to implement lockdown restrictions saw the number of those infected with coronavirus rise by 1.3 million in nine days, it has been reported.

According to an investigation by the Sunday Times’s Insight team, Boris Johnson’s delay in imposing measures saw cases rise from 200,000 on March 14 to 1.5m on March 23 as the government deliberated on the timing and scale of the lockdown.

The increase in cases during this time is shown in a study by Imperial College London’s pandemic modellers and Oxford University’s department of statistics.

The study used backward modelling to calculate that the rate of infection was doubling every three days on March 14 – the date it is believed the government first agreed that lockdown measures would be necessary to curb the virus’s spread.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Government’s Nervtag (new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group), told the paper: “I think that critical period of delay made the big difference to the peak numbers, both of hospitalisations and of deaths.

“I think everyone would accept now in retrospect that if we’d gone for lockdown a couple of weeks earlier that would have greatly reduced the numbers of hospitalisations and deaths.”

In a statement to the paper, a spokesman said the government’s strategy throughout the pandemic has been to protect the NHS and “save lives”.

“It has been vital through this global pandemic to make interventions which the public can feasibly adopt in sufficient numbers over long periods.”

Head of Wuhan lab calls virus leak claims ‘pure fabrication’

HECTOR RETAMAL via Getty Images
This aerial view shows Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province.

Claims promoted by the Trump administration that the global coronavirus pandemic originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city are a “pure fabrication”, the institute’s director said.

Wang Yanyi was quoted by state media on Sunday as saying the institute did not have “any knowledge before that nor had we ever met, researched or kept the virus… We didn’t even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn’t have it?”

US president Donald Trump and secretary of state Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said they suspect the virus that was first detected in Wuhan was somehow released from the laboratory.

Most scientists say the pathogen that has infected 5.3m and killed more than 342,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species likely sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.

Half of parents ‘unconvinced’ planned return to school is safe 

Liam Norris via Getty Images
School bags hanging on row of coat hooks in elementary school
 

More than half of parents of secondary school children feel anxious about a planned return to the classroom in little more than a week, a new poll has revealed. 

An Opinium poll, carried out for The Observer, found that 54% of secondary school parents and 43% of primary school parents were nervous about their children heading back into the classroom after months of lockdown. 

Primary schools have been told by the government to bring back Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 classes on June 1, with Year 10 and Year 12 pupils set to return on the same date. 

Concerns about maintaining stringent hygiene and social-distancing measures, as well as ‘chaotic’ messaging from the government, have sparked a significant pushback from parents and teachers alike with unions telling staff not to engage with headteachers until their safety is assured. 

Some councils, such as Liverpool City Council, have told their schools to disregard the government’s orders to return to classes. Welsh and Scottish schools will also remain closed on June 1.