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Footage has emerged of England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, apparently being subjected to verbal abuse in the street, sparking condemnation.
The video, which is undated and appears to have been uploaded after it was taken on a London street, was posted on Twitter by the Conservative MP Matt Vickers, who encouraged others to share it.
“This is appalling, I really can’t believe this footage. Chris Whitty is doing all he can to help guide us through this crisis and should never be subjected to this abuse,” said the MP for Stockton South, who suggested the person who abused the UK government’s chief medical adviser should be made to volunteer on a Covid-19 ward.
A young man wielding a cameraphone can be heard and seen repeatedly telling Whitty “you’re a liar” as the adviser apparently waits for a takeaway lunch order at a street stall. The footage was taken at Westminster’s Strutton Ground market and uploaded to TikTok.
Whitty does not respond and puts on a face covering as he waits, while the unmasked man taunts him.
Vickers said in a statement: “The chief medical officer is working day in and day out to help guide our nation through this unprecedented crisis and I think all of us, no matter your political affiliation can agree the man is doing his absolute best.”
He said it should also be remembered that Whitty was still working on the frontline as a practitioner across Covid wards.
“As the clouds of this pandemic continue to part, I think those like Prof Chris Whitty will be seen as heroes who stepped up, did their job and led us through the darkest of hours. As for the young man in the video, the less said the better. Perhaps he should be made to volunteer on a Covid ward. Perhaps then he will feel a pinch of shame and embarrassment for his dangerous conspiracies and yobbish behaviour.”
The abuse drew condemnation from supporters of other political parties. “Solidarity with Chris Whitty. Abusing and rejecting the views of experts is unacceptable and will cost lives,” tweeted Jack Summers, a Labour member who shared Vickers’ post.
The incident comes against the backdrop of continued activism by Covid deniers who are seeking to spread misinformation on and offline.
Healthcare and police chiefs warned last month that lives were being put at risk and the care of patients disrupted by a spate of hospital incursions from Covid deniers whose online activity is channelling hatred against NHS staff.
Piers Corbyn, the climate denier and brother of the former Labour leader, is meanwhile facing a police investigation over leaflets likening Covid vaccination efforts to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.
Source: The Guardian
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