Senior minister Michael Gove is no longer self-isolating after he was given special permission to have his daughter tested for the coronavirus – and the result came back negative.
It comes after he was spotted jogging just days into the two-week period when a person should stay home if a member of their household has displayed symptoms.
He and other senior politicians are due to decide whether to extend or change the coronavirus lockdown by Thursday, as the UK death toll grew to over 10,000.
Mr Gove, minister for the Cabinet Office, announced he was going into self-isolation last Monday after his daughter developed COVID-19 symptoms.
But he was photographed running in a south London park on Easter Sunday, raising questions about whether he was obeying NHS guidance that anyone self-isolating should only exercise at home.
After the revelation, it transpired that England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, had advised that Mr Gove’s daughter should be tested for the virus – which happened on Tuesday.
The result came back negative the following day.
A source close to Mr Gove said that meant “the household isolation rules no longer applied to the family”.
“Michael has followed the relevant advice and guidance at every stage and will continue to do so,” they added.
The news may anger those calling for quicker and increased testing of frontline NHS workers.
Ministers have been accused of being too slow to check whether health and social care staff have the virus – either meaning they are unaware they are passing it to patients, or stuck at home but without actually having it.
Prof Whitty admitted last week: “We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus and there’s a lot to learn from that and we’ve been trying to learn the lessons from that.”
Although the UK government has not made an official decision about whether to extend the lockdown, Wales and Scotland have already signalled it will remain in place for the immediate future.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is not working while he recovers at his countryside mansion Chequers with his pregnant fiancee, having been discharged from hospital after admitting his coronavirus infection “could have gone either way”.
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