Britain’s Prime Minister has been slammed for “sending confusing messages which cost lives” after urging people to stay away from pubs – but failing to criticise the Wetherspoon chairman for refusing to close his bars during the coronavirus crisis.
Mail Online reports: “Conservative Party donor and Wetherspoon CEO Tim Martin sparked fury this morning as he said closing pubs was ‘over the top’ despite warnings from the government’s chief scientific adviser that bars are a breeding ground for the deadly virus.”
Mr Martin told the BBC that a “sensible balance” was for pubs to implement ‘social distancing’ measures, like no standing at the bar, using cards and sitting at separate tables.”
“He sparked further outrage as he told Sky that ‘supermarkets posed more of a danger than pubs’,” the report added.
“In response to Mr Martin’s comments, the Prime Minister’s deputy official spokesman simply said the government has, ‘been clear about the importance of social distancing’.”
Asked if he was nervous about criticising political supporters of Boris Johnson, the spokesman said: “We’ve based all our decisions on the best scientific evidence and we will continue to do so.”
“The PM this week was met with anger from the hospitality industry as he told people not to visit pubs, clubs and cafes – but stopped short of closing them, meaning venues are losing footfall and cannot claim insurance,” the report said.
“The Mayor of London has since threatened to ban people from pubs, warning he will ‘infringe’ their human rights if necessary.
“Meanwhile, foolhardy revellers continue to flock to pubs and clubs across the country as they ignore calls urging social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Twitter users last night slammed people they had seen across Britain ignoring pleas to stay at home and help control the spread of coronavirus.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said “liberties and human rights need to be changed, curtailed, infringed’ in order to protect people and prevent further coronavirus deaths”.
“He threatened to ban people from going to the pub and cafés in his stark address to the London Assembly last night.
“The Mayor said he was concerned that people were still not doing enough to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.”
He said: “Our liberties and human rights need to be changed, curtailed, infringed — use whatever word you want.
“I am concerned about people not following the advice.
“There are still too many people being witnessed on our streets, in our bars, in our cafés, using the Tube, using our buses.”
The Mayor said he would be working from home, “wherever possible”, to “set the best possible example” as he told Londoners to do the same.
Mr Khan added: “The advice from the government is just advice, and I think that provides a mixed message.
“We may move to a situation where we move from advice to bans.
“I can’t say this clearly enough. People should not be travelling by any means unless they absolutely must. The scientific advice on this is very clear.
“Londoners should be avoiding social interaction unless absolutely necessary, and this includes avoiding using the transport network.”
He als told the London Assembly “that all residents of the capital should ‘strictly follow’ the official advice and added that he would be working from home as much as possible”.
He said: “We are clearly still in the early phase of this crisis but the spread of the virus is at a more advanced stage in London than in other parts of the country.
“This means that further measures will need to be introduced at the point at which they will have the biggest effect.
“I can assure Londoners that this is under constant review by the experts.”
Mr Khan also suggested transport in the capital could be scaled back even further.
Meanwhile, startling new data released on Wednesday night shows 29 percent of the first 2,500 cases of coronavirus in America were people between the ages of 20 and 44, the report added.
Of that number, 20 percent were hospitalised and 12 percent put in intensive care units. Some 55 percent of the cases were all under the age of 65.
“Social media users have criticised Mr Martin’s ‘grossly irresponsible’ stance and for ‘putting money before health’.
“The hashtag, ‘#BoycottWetherspoons’ is now trending on Twitter.
“Many have urged him to use his platform in the same way as celebrities including Kylie Jenner, who has encouraged youngsters to stay at home.”
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “Yesterday the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser said ‘mixing in pubs and restaurants needs to stop.
“Today the government is refusing to condemn Weatherspoon’s owner Tim Martin for suggesting the opposite. Confusing messages will cost lives. Pubs and restaurants must close.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, meanwhile, has warned young adults they will not “breeze through” coronavirus.
Chris Whitty said:”‘It is clear that children get this disease much less strongly than adults, I think the data on that is pretty strong now, and it certainly is the case that the majority of those that end up dying sadly are people who tend to be either in the later part of their lives, usually quite elderly, or those with pre-existing health conditions.
“But there are also some young people who have ended up in intensive care or who have ended up with severe disease around the world.
“I think it’s important that we don’t give the impression that every single person who is young and healthy is just going to breeze through this.”
On Monday, Boris Johnson ordered the country to avoid socialising, going to work or using public transport indefinitely in a desperate bid to contain the escalating crisis.
So far the highly contagious coronavirus has officially killed at least 137 people in the UK and infected 2,695. Experts estimate the true number of infections to be over 80,000.