Boris Johnson is facing fresh questions about alleged Covid rule-breaking amid claims he failed to self-isolate last January after coming into close contact with a Downing Street aide who later tested positive for the infection.
The prime minister stood near No 10's videographer on 31 December 2020 while recording his official new year message as the UK was about to be hit with its second wave of the virus, sources told the Daily Mirror.
The videographer tested positive for Covid after the message was recorded.
They informed No 10 officials and other staff members in the room were asked to self-isolate for 10 days, but the PM was not.
A Downing Street spokesperson insisted that Mr Johnson did not break any regulations because social distancing measures were followed throughout the recording.
But photos of the recording posted on the image-sharing website Flickr may raise questions about whether or not Mr Johnson did in fact maintain a two-metre distance between himself and the videographer, as set out in official guidance.
A source told the Mirror that the videographer, who was not wearing a face mask, stood “face-to-face” with the PM for around 15 minutes The source also suggested Mr Johnson and the aide stood less than 2m apart during the recording.
Official guidance at the time outlined that anybody who came within two metres, for more than 15 minutes, of somebody who later tested positive for Covid were required to self-isolate.
Less than a week after the recording took place England was plunged into its third national lockdown as Covid cases soared and hospitals across the country began to fill up with the sickest patients.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The prime minister was socially distanced from the individual who subsequently tested positive and the duration of the filming was shorter than 15 minutes.
“This has been reaffirmed by those present. He was not advised to isolate as the rules did not require him to do so.”
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