Hancock has been under fire after The Sun published photographs of him kissing Gina Coladangelo. The tabloid claimed that Gina Coladangelo is his friend, adviser and confidante. According to The Sun, the photos were taken May 6, two weeks before cross-household contacts in England were allowed indoors.
On Friday, the health secretary released a statement to reporters in which he requested privacy. "I admit that I have broken the social distancing guidelines in these circumstances. He said he regretted having let people down.
"I am still focused on the task of getting the country rid of this pandemic and would appreciate privacy for my family regarding this matter."
The Sun has reported on accusations of apparent cronyism. This allegation is similar to one that the health secretary faced for awarding a contract for Covid-19 test kit kits to a former neighbor.
Hancock has been under intense pressure for months about his handling of the British coronavirus pandemic, but he has managed to keep his job.
Boris Johnson's former chief advisor Dominic Cummings has accused him of obstructing the country's coronavirus test program. He also lies about the dire state of care homes and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Hancock denied the allegations.
More than 128,000 people have been killed in the United Kingdom by Covid-19 to date -- the highest number of deaths in Europe. The UK's initial failure to respond to Covid-19 was the creation of a test-and trace system. British officials have been criticised for ignoring care homes and allowing them to operate without adequate PPE, testing, or clear guidelines.
Cummings gave a damning account on the government's coronavirus response during a marathon seven hour hearing before parliament in Westminster last month. He accused Downing Street of misleading the British public. Hancock was also accused.
The divisive figure quit his post in November during the UK's second pandemic wave. He doubled his criticisms of Hancock last Wednesday.
"As the PM stated himself, Hancock’s performance on testing and procurement [personal protective equipment], care home etc was 'totally hopeless'," Cummings tweeted, sharing a screenshot from what appears to have been a WhatsApp conversation with Johnson, just days after the UK entered its first full lockdown in the face of a worsening epidemic.
Cummings claimed that he sent a text message to the prime minister on March 27, 2020 to inform him that the pace of coronavirus testing had slowed and that Hancock and Johnson were both positive.
Johnson replied to the tweet and Cummings blog screenshots: "Totally hopeless."
Johnson sent another text message one month later on April 27th, when National Health Service staff were running low on critical masks. Johnson suggested that Hancock stop procuring the equipment altogether.
"Wtf are we doing?" Johnson wrote.
When Hancock was asked last week by Sky News if he believed he was truly hopeless, Hancock replied: "I don’t think so." Johnson did not comment on the WhatsApp messages and his official spokesperson said that the Prime Minister does NOT plan to engage in any allegation.
Hancock was already in chaos, and it attracted the Queen's attention.
In her first meeting with Johnson in person in 15 months, the Queen spoke to Johnson about the woes of the health secretary on Wednesday. Johnson was informed that she had been talking to "your secretary for state for health, poor guy."
It's unclear if the comment was made in response to the burden of managing the country’s coronavirus response or an acknowledgement of the criticism Hancock received from Cummings.
"I just spoke to your secretary for state for health, poor man. He came to seek privy council. He is full of..."
Johnson jokingly said, "Beans."
"He thinks things are getting worse," said the Queen. Johnson responded: "Well, er... they are in the sense we're..." before abruptly ending the video.