“I bet everyone’s like ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying’, and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough,’” the Duke of Cambridge was caught on camera telling first responder Joe Mooney at a reception at the Guinness Storehouse.
William also asked Mooney if he thought the crisis that has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide was being “a little bit hyped up” by the media.
In separate footage, William was seen saying: “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.”
The context of those apparently joking comments is not entirely clear.
Check out the full video above.
William’s overall tone drew scorn from some people on Twitter, who accused him of being “out of touch” and “insensitive.”
A royal source told the Evening Standard that William and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, were being briefed about the virus threat posed by their public schedules and it was currently “business as usual” for the couple. They shook hands with people on the first day of their three-day tour of the Emerald Isle.
Queen Elizabeth II, meanwhile, on Tuesday took the rare step of wearing gloves to hand out honors at Buckingham Palace, although sources would not confirm whether it was prompted by the outbreak.