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Downing Street has failed to deny the UK’s united coronavirus response could “fracture”, saying only that it has held “so far”, after dismissing suggestions from Scotland and Wales on how to potentially ease lockdown restrictions
The government is facing “significant questions” over the credibility of its decision-making after it emerged Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings was allowed to sit as part of meetings by the government’s scientific advisory group, the attendants of which has been kept secret until now
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has claimed his “dangerous” suggestions that injecting disinfectant into the human body could work as a potential Covid-19 treatment were “sarcastic”, before storming out of an unusually short White House briefing in which he spoke for only six minutes, without taking any questions.
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  • Downing Street fails to deny UK response could ‘fracture’
  • Dominic Cummings was part of Sage meetings
  • Trump insists disinfectant claims were ‘sarcastic’

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Trump insists disinfectant claims were ‘sarcastic’ Despite signing a $484bn coronavirus relief bill in the Oval Office, Donald Trump’s wild suggestions about disinfectant and UV rays from the previous day continued to cast a shadow amid international outcry, jest and concern.
“I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters … to see what would happen,” Mr Trump said as he signed the bill into law, insisting he was asking his medical advisers to examine the impact sunlight has on the virus, not disinfectants, after a health official had described a study suggesting UV rays quickly kill Covid-19 cells.

  • Andy Gregory
  • 25 April 2020 09:30

Downing Street faces questions over Dominic Cummings attendance at key scientific advisory groupOpposition MPs reacted with fury to reports that Mr Cummings and Ben Warner, another No 10 adviser, attended a crunch meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on 23 March, the day before the prime minister announced the lockdown, Lizzy Buchan reports.Membership of Sage is a closely guarded secret but ministers have faced increasing pressure to disclose who sits on the panel and the advice it has given the government on tackling the outbreak.
A leaked cast list, seen by The Guardian, said that Mr Cummings and Mr Warner, a data scientist who worked with Mr Cummings on the Vote Leave campaign, have both attended meetings.
Downing Street insisted the pair were not members of Sage and had attended some of the groups meetings to understand better the scientific debates concerning this emergency and understand better the limits of how science and data can help government decisions.In a strongly worded statement, No 10 claimed public confidence in the media has collapsed during this emergency partly because of ludicrous stories such as this.
Sir David King, a former government scientific adviser wrote on Twitter: I dont say this lightly but if this report is accurate (which I have no reason to doubt) it marries with all of my worst fears. This is simply unimaginable, an egregious abuse SAGE membership the govt must answer.
Read the full report here:

  • Andy Gregory
  • 25 April 2020 09:19

England faces longer full lockdown than other parts of UK, as ministers continue silence on easing restrictionsWith Boris Johnson still away from work, business and trade union leaders joined opposition politicians in calling for openness about which measures might be relaxed first, to give them proper time to prepare, Rob Merrick reports.
But No 10 brushed off proposals from Scotland and Wales that are likely to see those nations soften their lockdowns first instead acknowledging the growing likelihood that the united pan-UK approach will fracture.
The PMs spokesperson admitted the four UK capitals moving in lockstep had only held so far. Asked if it would fracture, he did not deny the prospect, replying: It hasnt to this point.
Read more details here:

  • Andy Gregory
  • 25 April 2020 09:09

Good morning, we’ll be using this liveblog to follow today’s latest coronavirus news.

  • Andy Gregory
  • 25 April 2020 09:04