Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UK health minister quits after breaking COVID rules

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LONDON: Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock has resigned after he admitted breaking COVID-19 guidance by kissing and embracing an aide in his office, angering colleagues and the public during lockdown.

Downing Street on Saturday published Hancock’s resignation letter to Boris Johnson and the prime minister’s response, in which he said he was sorry to receive it.

“We have worked so hard as a country to fight the pandemic,” Hancock said in the letter. “The last thing I would want is for my private life to distract attention from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis.”

Earlier today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had rejected calls to fire his health secretary, after pictures appeared of him embracing and kissing an aide in his office, in what he acknowledged was a breach of coronavirus rules.

The Sun newspaper, which published the photographs of Matt Hancock and the aide on its front page, had said the images were taken last month, before the government lifted rules banning intimate contact with people outside a person’s household. The aide had been a friend of Hancock’s before she was appointed to his staff.

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