| 8.4°C Belfast

Coronavirus Northern Ireland: Dominic Cummings defends allegations he broke lockdown rules with Durham trip

  • NI death toll reaches 514 following eight further deaths
  • No new Covid-19 deaths registered in the Republic for the first time since mid-March, while the death toll in the UK rises to 36,914
  • PM's aide Dominic Cummings says he does not regret travelling to Durham during lockdown and has not considered resigning
  • Scroll down to follow our live coverage of today's main developments

Boris Johnson's chief advisor Dominic Cumming has defended driving to his father's farm in County Durham amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said he made the decision due to fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with the virus, but also concerns about his family's safety.

At an extraordinary press conference in Downing Street's rose garden, Mr Cummings said stories suggested he had opposed lockdown and "did not care about many deaths".

"The truth is that I had argued for lockdown, I did not oppose it but these stories had created a very bad atmosphere around my home, I was subjected to threats of violence, people came to my house shouting threats, there were posts on social media encouraging attacks."

Mr Cummings said he was worried that "this situation would get worse" and "I was worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10."

"I thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father's farm."

He said he did not regret his actions, adding: "There are lot of things I could have done better but in these 14 days [my actions were] reasonable."

When asked whether he had offered Boris Johnson his resignation, Mr Cummings said he had not.

Meanwhile, a further eight people have died after contracting coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

Figures from the Department of Health show that eight patients have died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 514.

There has also been 39 individuals tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of positive cases in Northern Ireland to 4,609.

There is currently 14 patients with Covid-19 in intensive care beds.

There is 68 confirmed outbreaks of the virus at care homes in Northern Ireland, with 36 suspected outbreaks and 41 closed outbreaks.

Here's how Monday unfolded:

Belfast Telegraph