Duke of Cambridge makes awkward joke about 'spreading' coronavirus

3 March 2020, 23:13

The Duke of Cambridge made an awkward quip about "spreading" the coronavirus
The Duke of Cambridge made an awkward quip about "spreading" the coronavirus. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Duke of Cambridge has made an awkward joke about unwittingly "spreading" coronavirus during his tour of Ireland.

Prince William shared a laugh with a paramedic by poking fun at himself about spreading the disease.

The duke questioned the emergency service worker about whether he thought coverage of the illness was "being a little hyped up" in the media.

He asked Joe Mooney of the National Ambulance Service: "I bet everyone's like 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying', and you're like 'no, you've just got a cough'.

"Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up do you think in the media?"

Later he grimaced with mock horror as he said: "By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus.

“Sorry. We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop.”

William's comments came during his and Kate's tour of Ireland
William's comments came during his and Kate's tour of Ireland. Picture: PA

William discussed Covid-19 with other emergency workers at a reception hosted by Britain's Ambassador to Ireland, Robin Barnett, in the Gravity Bar at Dublin's Guinness Storehouse.

The royal's comments came as it emerged that he and his wife, who are on a three-day visit to Ireland, are taking advice on the coronavirus threat, but will continue meeting people as usual.

Earlier, the Queen wore gloves to present honours during an investiture ceremony, but Buckingham Palace declined to confirm whether the monarch was taking the precaution because of the outbreak.

The couple shook hands with dozens of people on the first day of their tour and are expected to continue to do so, based on advice they are being given.

A royal source said last night the couple were following guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Health and that meant "business as usual" for now.

"This is a discussion we have been having and everything we are doing should continue as usual," said the source.

William and Kate enjoyed a pint of Guinness at the Storehouse - a major visitor attraction which tells the story of the famous drink - with the duke toasting his hosts in Gaelic, raising his pint and saying "Slainte".