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Boris Johnson has defended his decision not to wear a mask while sitting next to Sir David Attenborough, after he was accused of putting the 95-year old at risk.
In images taken at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, the prime minister could be seen seated directly next to Attenborough, and was conspicuously the only person in the vicinity not wearing a face mask.
Now, in an awkward new interview, Johnson has sought to justify his actions, but not everyone was convinced by his explanation.
Asked by CNN’s Christine Amanpour why he would risk the health of a ‘national treasure’, Johnson responded by claiming that he wore a mask ‘in confined spaces with people that I don’t normally meet’, continuing, ‘I think it’s up to people to take a judgement as to whether they are at a reasonable distance from someone and whether they’re with someone they don’t normally meet.’
COP26 guidance states that attendees should ‘wear a face covering at all times except when eating, drinking, sitting in office/meeting spaces or conducting negotiations; or if medically exempt’.
Johnson’s claims were instantly countered by photos taken at the conference that showed him maskless in the indoor venue alongside several world leaders and diplomats, many of whom are in their 70s and would therefore be considered at ‘high risk’ of falling seriously ill were they to contract Covid-19.
Like many of his Conservative party colleagues Johnson has refused to wear a mask despite rising Covid-19 rates in the UK, however the sight of him sat without a mask alongside 95-year old Attenborough – one of the nation’s most beloved figures – has caused particular backlash, with one opposition MP describing the decision as a ‘complete failure of judgement’.
Another Labour MP, Anna McMorrin, tweeted, ‘It’s one thing to show how little you care but quite another [to] sit next to 95-year-old David Attenborough and NOT wear a MASK.’
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