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Matt Hancock resigns as Britain's health secretary after breaking protocols

British Health Minister Matt Hancock leaves No.10 Downing Street in London on April 3, 2019. He resigned as health minister on Saturday after he was caught breaking coronavirus protocols in May. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
British Health Minister Matt Hancock leaves No.10 Downing Street in London on April 3, 2019. He resigned as health minister on Saturday after he was caught breaking coronavirus protocols in May. File photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

June 26 (UPI) -- British Health Minister Matt Hancock resigned Saturday after a video surfaced of him breaking social distancing protocols in May while the government was urging people to abide by them to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Hancock, who was already under fire for his response to the pandemic, was captured on CCTV footage on May 6 kissing aide Gina Coladangelo when Britons were being told not to even hug people outside of their household.

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Britain had not yet started to considerably ease its restrictions for most places nationwide allowing people to gather, socialize, eat and attend pubs indoors when Hancock was caught on camera.

His relationship with Coladangelo had been under scrutiny by officials at that point as well.

Sajid Javid, Johnson's former chancellor and home secretary, was appointed to replace Hancock as health secretary, the government announced.

"The last thing I want is for my private life to distract from the single-minded focus that is leading us out of this crisis," Hancock wrote in his resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "We owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down."

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Johnson wrote back in response, saying, "You should leave office very proud of what you have achieved -- not just in tackling the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 struck us."

"Matt Hancock is right to resign. But Boris Johnson should have sacked him," tweeted Labor Party leader Keir Starmer.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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