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Boris Johnson has faced condemnation after some photographs showed the prime minister without a mask during a hospital visit.
The prime minister attended a “long-standing engagement” at Hexham General Hospital, Northumberland, on Monday – meaning he was unable to attend a debate on standards in the wake of the Owen Paterson scandal.
He toured the hospital, praising staff for their efforts to carry on treating patients and undertaking operations despite the pandemic.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said on Twitter: “So not only is Boris Johnson too cowardly to turn up to parliament to defend the sleazy corrupt government shenanigans of recent days. He’s now irresponsibly parading round a hospital without a mask. Patients and NHS staff deserve better than this.”
The Liberal Democrats tweeted: “Not only did Boris Johnson travel 280 miles to avoid a debate on his government’s sleaze and corruption, he couldn’t be bothered to wear a mask while walking around a hospital once he got there.”
But the NHS trust that runs the hospital defended Johnson. Northumbria NHS tweeted: “Please be assured that infection prevention and control remains an utmost priority for our trust. The prime minister Boris Johnson followed strict measures, including wearing a mask, in each clinical area he visited.”
So not only is Boris Johnson too cowardly to turn up to Parliament to defend the sleazy corrupt government shenanigans of recent days.
He’s now irresponsibly parading round a hospital without a mask.
Patients and NHS staff deserve better than this. pic.twitter.com/wrrtcmrlZm
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) November 8, 2021
☑️ sleeves rolled up
☑️tie tucked in
❌ no mask
Not only did Boris Johnson travel 280 miles to avoid a debate on his Government's sleaze and corruption, he couldn't be bothered to wear a mask while walking around a hospital once he got there. pic.twitter.com/8B5rdKEu14
— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) November 8, 2021
It came as the UK reported a further 57 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, and another 32,322 Covid cases, according to the latest government data.
Johnson has stirred up controversy by not wearing a face covering in various crowded settings in recent months, including in the Commons and in small rooms with his ministers. He has repeatedly refused to make masks mandatory as well.
Boris Johnson says he only wears masks in indoor settings with people he doesn’t know. Apart from hospitals obviously. No need for a mask there. pic.twitter.com/60lBRNABOp
— Stig Abell (@StigAbell) November 8, 2021
WHY WON’T BORIS JUST PUT A F******G MASK ON?
— Natasha Devon 🌈💙 (@_NatashaDevon) November 8, 2021
Boris Johnson on a visit to Hexham Hospital has encouraged people to get their booster jabs, he said 'it's the single most important thing that the Government can do at the present time'...wasn't there some advice about mask wearing too? pic.twitter.com/VKfhMT0qBk
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) November 8, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.