A government minister appeared on morning television to urge Brits to “call out” others if they were seen engaging “in an odd way,” such as hugging their loved ones.
Nigel Huddleston, the UK’s minister for tourism and sport, made the remarks during an interview spot on BBC Breakfast.
“Despite the temptation, please don’t risk the health of your loved ones by actually hugging them,” said Huddleston, before going on to suggest that people should intervene if they witness such dreadful behavior.
“If you see someone behaving in an odd way then call them out on it”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) March 29, 2021
“We all know the rules…if you see somebody behaving in a slightly odd way, then maybe call them out on it in a respectful way, because sometimes some people just forget,” he added.
Huddleston said it was “a little bit awkward” to refuse close physical contact but “in these circumstances it’s the right thing to do.”
Twitter users reacted to the minister’s comments with a mixture of disbelief and scorn.
“Hugging someone is odd? Christ we’ve been taken over by the Borg. Can imagine the lunatics taking photos of busy play areas now walking round with megaphones ‘calling people out’ Smiling face with open mouth and tightly-closed eyes,” said one.
“Odd behaviour as defined by year – 2019: Someone looking shady, potentially holding or carrying a suspicious package, with likely terror related intentions 2021: someone who hugs a close friend/relative,” said another.
Others were defiant in saying they would hug their loves ones, with one remarking, “I’m seeing my kids next weekend for the first time since the end of December! Wild horses wouldn’t stop me hugging them!”
The minister made the remarks on the day that lockdown in England took a further step towards easing, with people being allowed to meet outside in groups of up to six people.
However, as we previously highlighted, other public health officials have asserted that social distancing and mask wearing will continue for years no matter when the pandemic is declared to be over.