The coronavirus rules are clear and apply to everybody, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned.
Professor Van-Tam said: “In my opinion the rules are clear and they have always been clear.
“In my opinion they are for the benefit of all. In my opinion they apply to all.”
In response to the question about Mr Cummings, who travelled to Durham from London while the harshest lockdown measures were in place, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he gave “a very extensive explanation of his behaviour on Monday and answered all questions in relation to that”.
“The prime minister accepted that explanation and on that basis kept him in post and that remains the position,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, one scientist said the “Cummings affair” could impact trust in the authorities issuing the rules.
Professor Robert West, a participant in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) which advises SAGE, said: “Trust in authority telling you to do things is very important when it comes to people adhering to those rules.
“This is going to become even more important as we move to a situation where it’s not everybody having to do it; it’s people who have drawn the short straw. So they will be seeing other people out there being able to engage in activities which they can’t do for up to 14 days.”
Professor West said people “will feel really cheesed off about it and they must, absolutely must, feel that what they are doing they are doing it because it’s the right thing to do, so anyone who was in their position would do that”.
He added that “when people see something like the Cummings affair… that’s not a recipe for trust”.
Durham Police said Mr Cummings may have committed “a minor breach” of lockdown rules but will face no further action.
Despite a stream of Tory MPs calling for the adviser’s resignation continued, Mr Johnson has reiterated his support for Mr Cummings.
Next week from Monday to Thursday, Dermot Murnaghan will be hosting After the Pandemic: Our New World – a series of special live programmes about what our world will be like once the pandemic is over.
We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names from the worlds of culture, politics, economics, science and technology. And you can take part too.
If you’d like to be in our virtual audience – from your own home – and put questions to the experts, email [email protected]