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Royals and reality TV stars: Covid slip ups

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Dominic Cummings, former top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, caused an uproar in Britain after breaching lockdown rules to travel the length of England in March 2020 to be with his parents. AFP

Royals and reality TV stars: Covid slip ups

From British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, the Dutch royals and now tennis superstar Novak Djokovic, a slew of politicians and celebrities have found themselves in hot water over Covid rules.

Here are some of the most famous offenders:

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Serbia’s tennis champion Novak Djokovic disembarks from a plane at the airport in Dubai on Monday, after losing a legal battle in Australia on Sunday over his coronavirus vaccination status. AFP

Downing Street follies

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings caused an uproar in Britain after breaching lockdown rules in March 2020 to travel the length of England to be with his parents.

He later said he took another trip in a car to “check his eyesight” before eventually being forced to step down.

It was to be the first of a long line of Covid-related scandals to rock Johnson and his government.

Kiss me quick

British health minister Matt Hancock resigned for breaking the Covid rules he had himself set after being caught on film in a steamy clinch with his mistress in his ministry in May 2021.

Parties and quizzes

Johnson has since been undermined by a long string of revelations about boozy parties and quizzes at Number 10 that were allegedly in breach of the rules, with the prime minister photographed at one in his garden.

And he was forced to apologise for attending another party during the first lockdown in 2020, amid calls for him to step down.

His father Stanley has also been caught not wearing a face mask and flying to his villa in Greece when only non-essential travel was permitted, claiming he went to make it “Covid-safe”.

Selfie schtick

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa broke social distancing rules to pose for a selfie with two women who approached him in the street in May 2020.

Laughing, he joked: “Come before we get arrested.”

He wasn’t arrested but the video went viral, sparking outrage.

Party on

Paraguay’s deputy health minister Juan Carlos Portillo resigned after he was filmed at a party in June 2020 just after he had helped bring in new restrictions.

Royal pardon

The Dutch royal family had to apologise last month when they invited 21 people to celebrate the 18th birthday of future queen Princess Amalia when only four were allowed.

It was one of a string of Covid faux pas committed by the House of Orange with King Willem-Alexander repeatedly breaking social distancing rules by shaking hands and the family going on holiday to Greece during a partial lockdown.

Kardashian birthday bash ...

Reality television star Kim Kardashian sparked anger in October 2020 by throwing a party on a private island to celebrate her 40th birthday, with photos showing revellers without masks.

... And one for president’s wife

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez faced fury when it emerged that he threw a party for his wife in July 2020 when all gatherings were banned in the South American country.

Costly meal

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki apologised in May 2020 after posing for official photographs with staff in a restaurant when his own advice to others was to dine out only with close family.

Irish golf gala

European trade commissioner Phil Hogan was forced to resign in August 2020 along with two senior Irish politicians after they attended a parliamentary golf gala dinner for 80 when only six people were allowed to meet indoors.

The head of the country’s tourism board Catherine Martin was also forced to quit after going for a break in Italy when people were being told to holiday at home.

‘Bad mistake’

California governor Gavin Newsom was forced to admit he made a “bad mistake” in November 2020 by attending a friend’s birthday dinner during a spike in cases.

Match halted

A hugely anticipated clash between South American football giants Brazil and Argentina had to be halted in September 2021 after five minutes with officials claiming four Argentine players based in England had given them false information to get around Covid rules.


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