Dominic Cummings, chief adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Monday became the latest individual at the top of the British government to go into self-isolation, as a leading expert suggested that the number of cases in the UK may be slowing down.
Cummings, 48, has been a leading if controversial figure in the Brexit campaign and joined Johnson in Downing Street in July 2019 after he became prime minister. He joins Johnson and other figures who have been afflicted with coronavirus.
These include health secretary Matt Hancock, Scotland secretary Alister Jack and chief medical officer for England Chris Whitty. Johnson is continuing to lead the government’s response while remaining in self-isolation, officials said.
Prince Charles’ office announced that he has come out of self-isolation and is in good health.
Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist from Imperial College whose modelling contributed to the government’s decision to impose the ongoing three-week lockdown, said new data was showing signs that social distancing measures were beginning to work.
He told BBC: “In the UK, we can see some early signs of slowing in some indicators. Less so in deaths because deaths are lagged by long time from when the measures come into force. But we look at the numbers of new hospital admissions today, for instance, that does seem to be slowing down a little bit now”.
“It’s not yet plateaued as the numbers are increasing each day but the rate of that increase has slowed. We see similar patterns in a number of European countries,” he said, adding that 3-5% of people in central London may have been infected.
London has become a hotspot for the virus, with one-thirds of the cases in the UK. Recent data shows that Birmingham and the west Midlands have also become a hotspot.