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Second Government medic says lockdown rules are clear and apply to all

Dr Jenny Harries agreed with Prof Jonathan Van-Tam’s remark that lockdown rules apply to all in the wake of the Cummings row.

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Screen grab of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Screen grab of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Screen grab of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Two of the Government’s chief medical officers have said that lockdown rules are clear and apply to everyone in the wake of the Dominic Cummings row.

Deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries used her platform at the Sunday Downing Street press conference to agree with remarks made by her colleague Jonathan Van-Tam on the previous day.

When asked whether people in authority should lead by example and obey the rules at the daily briefing, Professor Van-Tam said on Saturday: “In my opinion the rules are clear and they have always been clear.

“In my opinion they are for the benefit of all.

“In my opinion they apply to all.”

At the Sunday briefing, Dr Harries said she “absolutely” agreed with Prof Van-Tam’s remark when asked by a journalist.

She said: “I thought his exposure of what he felt was exactly right.

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Deputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam (PA Video/PA)

Deputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam (PA Video/PA)

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Deputy Chief Medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam (PA Video/PA)

“We usually say exactly the same things because we think in public health terms, and I think that’s right.

“And from my own perspective I can assure you that from a level of personal and professional integrity, I would always try and follow the rules as I know he does.

“The important thing is they are rules for all of us, and it’s really important as we go through into this next critical phase that we do follow them to the best of our abilities, and even minimise if you like, the freedoms that are there to ensure that we can very gently come out of the pandemic.”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings (Yui Mok/PA)

Dr Harries had previously said on May 23 that travelling during lockdown was permissible if “there was an extreme risk to life” with a “safeguarding clause” attached to all advice to prevent vulnerable people being stuck at home with no support.

This statement has been used to support Mr Cummings’ controversial decision to break lockdown rules by travelling 250 miles to Durham while showing Covid-19 symptoms to better take care of his child.

Other key scientific experts at the briefings including chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have so far refused to comment.

PA