Boris Johnson criticised for sitting maskless next to ‘national treasure’ Sir David Attenborough at COP26

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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has been criticised after sitting next to Sir David Attenborough at COP26 without wearing a face mask.

The Prime Minister is facing a backlash on social media after images emerged of him sitting next to the 95-year-old “national treasure” maskless at the UN climate summit in Glasgow on Monday.

Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke tweeted the photo with the caption: “When you’re sitting next to 95-year-old Sir David Attenborough and you *still* can’t be arsed to wear a mask. Or even stay awake. #COP26”.

The photograph soon attracted criticism online, with one person commenting: “So disrespectful and thoughtless. Masks are mandatory inside conference or exhibition centres when visiting Scotland. That’s a law.”

Another user added: “A total disrespect for not only the rules in Scotland but the fact that he is sitting next to a national treasure who wears his mask without question. “

In defence of the Prime Minister, one person said: “He is the father of an 18 month old baby with another on the way. Perhaps that explains the exhaustion.”

COP26 organisers have said ‘Blue Zone attendees’ - those in the UN-managed space which hosts the negotiations and is not open to all members of the public - should wear a face covering at all times, except when eating, drinking, sitting in office and meeting spaces or conducting negotiations; or if medically exempt.

Face coverings should be worn when sitting in theatre-style seating, a document outlining the event’s Covid-19 safety measures said.

Event speakers can also remove face coverings when delivering a speech or lecture, it added.

Face masks are not required to be worn during the World Leader Summit or when a speaker is seated on the podium.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said Boris Johnson “has abided by the Covid-19 guidance at COP26 throughout.

“Attendees and delegates are not required to wear a face mask when they are seated as per the COP26 guidance,” they added.

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