Coronavirus: The high-profile names who have been accused of breaching lockdown rules

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

The scientist whose research guided the government into introducing the coronavirus lockdown has resigned after he admitted breaking the restrictions himself.

Professor Neil Ferguson quit his role as a key government adviser after it emerged he had undermined social distancing rules by meeting his married lover at his home.

Government restrictions say people should only leave their homes for essential reasons, such as food shopping or delivering items to vulnerable people.

Britons are also expected to not socialise with people from other households to avoid spreading the virus.

Professor Neil Ferguson has resigned after breaking coronavirus lockdown restrictions. (Wikipedia)

Ferguson is not the first prominent figure to be accused of breaching the rules.

Dr Catherine Calderwood

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigned in April after she was caught breaking lockdown restrictions on two occasions in order to visit her second home, which was located more than an hour away from her main residence in Edinburgh.

Then Scotland chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood at a coronavirus briefing at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh. (PA)

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Despite Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon backing Calderwood to remain in her position, she ultimately decided to quit to avoid becoming a “distraction” from the government’s social-distancing message.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus. (PA)

Robert Jenrick

The housing, communities and local government secretary was asked to explain why he travelled more than an hour to visit his parents despite warning people to remain at home.

Jenrick was also criticised for travelling 150 miles from his London property to his Herefordshire home, from where he travelled to his parents in Shropshire.

However, he defended his actions, saying he went to deliver food and medicine to his isolating parents –and was therefore not breaking the rules.

Stephen Kinnock

The Labour MP for Aberavon in South Wales was publicly shamed by police after travelling to London to celebrate his father’s birthday.

After Kinnock posted a photo on Twitter of himself practicing social distancing with his parents outside their home, South Wales Police replied: “We know celebrating your dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel. We all have our part to play in this, we urge you to comply with (lockdown) restrictions, they are in place to keep us all safe. Thank you.”

Kinnock defended the visit, saying "it was essential travel" as he was delivering "some necessary supplies" to his parents.

New Zealand's health minister Dr David Clark speaks to media during a press conference. (Getty)

Dr David Clark

The New Zealand politician branded himself an “idiot” for driving his family over 12 miles to the beach on the first weekend of the country’s national stay-at-home measures.

That incident came a week after he was photographed going for a mountain bike ride over a mile away from his family home in Dunedin on New Zealand’s south island.

Although the health minister offered his resignation to prime minister Jacinda Ardern, she instead opted to demote him to the bottom of the government’s Cabinet rankings.

Manchester United's Marcus Rojo was filmed appearing to break Argentina's lockdown restrictions. (PA)

Marcos Rojo

Away from the world of politics, Manchester United defender Rojo was recently filmed appearing to flout Argentina’s coronavirus lockdown rules.

The 30-year-old, on loan at Estudiantes, was seen playing cards and smoking with friends in his homeland in a video on Instagram.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker will be subject to an internal disciplinary procedure after he held a party during lockdown. (AP)

Kyle Walker

The Manchester City and England full-back was forced to apologise in April after it was widely reported he held a party at his Cheshire home in a blatant violation of the nation’s lockdown measures.

He said in a statement: “I understand that my position as a professional footballer brings the responsibility of being a role model. As such, I want to apologise to my family, friends, football club, supporters and the public for letting them down.

“There are heroes out there making a vital difference to society at the moment, and I have been keen to help support and highlight their amazing sacrifices and life-saving work over the past week.

“My actions in this matter are in direct contrast to what I should have been doing regarding the lockdown. And I want to reiterate the message: Stay home, stay safe.”

The club has promised the 29-year-old will also be subject to an “internal disciplinary procedure”.

Gordon Ramsay was spotted 25 miles from his home in Cornwall during lockdown. (PA)

Gordon Ramsay

The celebrity chef was given an official warning after he was spotted 25 miles away from his Cornwall home by the coastguard.

The 53-year-old, who is the face of the “Stayhome” initiative on YouTube, was reportedly seen in Rock, Fowey, Port Isaac and Newquay.

A source at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “One of our staff spoke to him about the frequency with which he was being seen out and about, and the significant distances.

“After a period of reflection, he seemed to calm himself and took on board what was being conveyed in a most polite manner.”

Ramsay and his family arrived in Cornwall on 20 March – three days before the start of lockdown.

Nigel Farage

The Brexit Party leader said he was visited by police at his home after he made a 63-mile trip to Dover to film a report on migrants during lockdown.

He tweeted: "Lockdown lunacy. Two police officers just knocked on my door to advise me on essential travel.

"They had received a complaint that I had been to Dover to report on the illegal migrant scandal taking place. What a total waste of time and money."

Sussex Police confirmed they reminded Farage of the lockdown rules after they were sent the clip.

Farage’s spokesman claimed he was a key worker – in his role as a journalist on radio station LBC – making essential travel to report on a "scandal".

Evangeline Lilly faced a backlash for saying it was 'business as usual' during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

Evangeline Lilly

The Ant-Man star was criticised after she posted on Instagram that it was “business as usual” when she dropped her children to gymnastics camp.

Lilly later apologised for being insensitive “to the very real suffering and fear that has gripped the world through COVID-19”.

She added: “When I wrote that post 10 days ago, I thought I was infusing calm into the hysteria. I can see now that I was projecting my own fears into an already fearful and traumatic situation.”

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