'This is nuts' social media users blast crowds clapping NHS on Westminster Bridge

24 April 2020, 10:56

Crowds gathered for a second week on Westminster Bridge
Crowds gathered for a second week on Westminster Bridge. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

People have been slammed for a second week in a row for flouting social distancing rules to Clap For Carers on Westminster Bridge.

Dozens congregated on the central London bridge on Thursday night, despite a ban on gatherings of more than two people as Britain’s coronavirus lockdown continues.

Only last week Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick was condemned for joining crowds on the bridge along with scores of her officers.

She was branded the “worst commissioner of all time” after the farcical scenes surfaced on social media.

Most across the UK adhered to social distancing rules for the weekly 8pm applause for NHS workers last night, but pictures from Westminster Bridge showed large crowds stood with their smartphones within 6ft of each other, alongside emergency services.

Among those to lambast the ”absolutely shambolic” scenes was Conservative MP Lucy Allan, who tweeted: “How did this happen again? You can’t comfort your loved one on their death bed, but it’s fine to go Westminster Bridge and party on a Thursday.”

Another fumed: “@metpoliceuk turning 8pm Westminster Bridge into a party, lets all get down there next week and see how full this "event" they have created needs to get before they wake up!!

@MattHancock seriously sort this, rules are rules ALL week!!!”

Another replied: “Why are the police allowing it? Lunacy!!”

Twitter user Pauk Jones vented: “Ridiculous. Why are emergency services self congratulating? Disrespecting current social distancing? As an emergency worker myself I'm appalled at this. Where is our integrity.”

It comes after footage shot from the bridge last week by junior doctor Damir Rafi prompted a storm of criticism for Ms Dick and the Government as police officers were shown participating in the mass gathering.

The video, watched 10 million times, showed also babies and young children gathered.

Dr Rafi told the Metro: "Though people may have wanted to go outside to show their support for healthcare workers, applauding them while being in a crowd is likely to have done more harm than good.

"As a doctor, I’m seeing that things seem to be getting better regarding the state of the wards and number of admissions. It’s all due to social distancing.”

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “We would ask that everyone takes responsibility and adheres to social distancing rules so that we can safely show our appreciation for those who are working so hard to fight coronavirus.

“We would ask that in showing their appreciation for those who are working so hard as carers, they do so in a way which adheres to the social distancing rules.”