In Brief

NHS doctor resigns in protest at Dominic Cummings coronavirus scandal

Dr Dominic Pimenta claims Downing Street’s response to adviser’s lockdown breach could lead to second wave of Covid-19

A senior doctor is protesting against Dominic Cummings’ continuing presence in No. 10 by resigning from the NHS. 

London cardiology registrar Dr Dominic Pimenta fears that Cummings’ behaviour in breaching coronavirus lockdown rules, and Boris Johnson’s refusal to fire his right-hand man over the scandal, “could help trigger a second wave of coronavirus”, The Guardian reports.

Pimenta warned last month that Cummings’ refusal to resign “spits in the face” of nationwide efforts to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak. In a tweet posted shortly after it emerged that the Downing Street aide drove from London to Durham with his family during lockdown, the medic tweeted: “If he doesn’t resign, I will.”

Announcing that he is now quitting the health service, Pimenta said his decision was influenced by the “laughable fairy-tale” explanation given by Cummings for the breach, and by the prime minister’s continuing support of his top adviser.

In a statement shared with The Guardian, Pimenta argued that while the public and NHS staff have made sacrifices during the pandemic, “Cummings’ transgressions… and the subsequent doubling-down of ministers, including the prime minister, defending those actions, rewriting and threatening the rules of the lockdown to accommodate one man who simply won’t admit what he did was wrong, threaten to undo all that good, all that sacrifice”.

“A right and moral government would have asked for Cummings’ resignation,” he added.

Pimenta says he now plans to dedicate his time to the charity Heroes, which he founded in March to help provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line NHS staff.

Responding to Pimenta’s resignation, Professor Andrew Goddard, the president of the Royal College of Physicians, said it was “very sad that a colleague has felt the need to resign during this crisis”.

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Meanwhile, in a separate show of anger over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters this morning staged a “die-in” outside Cummings’ north London home, Sky News reports. 

Around 20 people wearing face masks lay down in the street while holding up signs with messages including “over 50,000 dead while you're playing king of the castle”.

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