Boris Johnson gets coronavirus rules wrong again

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a media briefing in Downing Street - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson appears to have got his coronavirus rules wrong again after advising single parents they may not be able to see their children if their area goes into heightened restrictions.

The prime minister told a father living in a different county to his son “there may be restrictions”, despite all levels of Covid-19 controls giving an exemption for parents to see their children.

The apparent error during a televised Downing Street press conference came after Johnson was forced to apologise for wrongly explaining local lockdown measures.

Christopher, who lives in Margate, Kent, asked whether he would be able to visit his son in Essex if either area rises from the “medium” level of restrictions, as much of Essex will do from Saturday.

Johnson told him: “Christopher, I think the guidance alas is that – you should go on the website obviously and check – but when places go into a higher tier from the basic medium then there are restrictions on household contact, alas.

“So depending on how you define your household, you may find there may be restrictions but you really need to go on to the website to see what’s going on in Kent and what’s going on in Essex in order to be absolutely sure.”

However, each of Johnson’s new three-tiered local coronavirus rules, including the “very high” level, includes an exemption for children who live apart from their parents.

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The government’s website states there is an exemption “for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians”.

It is even clearer in the regulations, which state that there is an exception for “the purposes of arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents”.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said that error showed he was “grossly incompetent” and told the government “to get a grip”.

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