Coronavirus advice ignored by St Patrick’s Day revellers as pandemic spreads

Brits have snubbed the government's advice by continuing to drink and party in pubs and clubs on St Patrick's Day despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Revellers defied advice that 'social distancing' was needed to tackle COVID-19 and instead rubbed shoulders at nightclubs across London, Newcastle and Manchester.

Despite the killer bug claiming the lives of 71 people in the UK resulting in the government warning people on Monday to keep away from clubs and pubs many venues have kept their doors opened.

Pictures show revellers enjoying the national Irish day dressed up in emerald green clothing, hats and headwear the shape of a pint of Guinness.

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On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference to announce he was adopting a new strategy urging people to avoid restaurants, pubs and confined spaces.

He also recommended people work from home wherever possible.

However just hours later drinks ignored his advice and flocked to nightclubs such as Cirque Le Soir in Soho, London and Walkabout in Chelmsford, Essex.

Popworld in Essex has also said it will remain open on Fridays and Saturdays as normal.

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American actor William Shatner also held an audience with fans at the Hammersmith Apollo yesterday evening just hours after Boris Johnson announced his 'social distancing' advice.

However nightclubs Ministry of Sound, Egg London and Fabric London have temporarily closed due to the outbreak.

Scientists have warned in a report released on Monday that around 250,000 people would die in Britain unless stringent measures were rolled out by the government to protect the population.

Imperial College's Covid-19 Response Team – who are advising the UK Government –  said a 'suppression' approach was the only viable way to tackle the disease.

The team found that 'social distancing', self-isolating at home and closing schools and universities would stem the outbreak.

The report said: "To avoid a rebound in transmission, these policies will need to be maintained until large stocks of vaccine are available to immunise the population – which could be 18 months or more."

It found that a 'mitigation' strategy – focused on slowing not reversing the spread, would result in 250,000 deaths in Britain in the best case scenario.

The experts instead advocated for a 'suppression' approach.

The team's modelling estimates were reportedly presented to the Government, which has since changed its strategy by introducing harsher measures.

What is the latest government advice on coronavirus?

The government has advised the British public to:

  • Avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants and all social gatherings
  • Cease all unnecessary travel
  • Everyone should work from home where possible
  • Mass gatherings and sporting events have been cancelled
  • Avoid “all but essential travel” to more than 30 countries
  • If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days

  • Pregnant women, those over 70, and people with certain health conditions have been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks

  • Schools will remain open

They found that not taking any action would result in an estimated 510,000 deaths in Britain, with the disease infecting 81 per cent of the population.

The Prime Minister said the 'very draconian' advice applies particularly to people over 70, pregnant women, and those with some health conditions

And he confirmed the country is 'moving emphatically away from' mass gatherings.

“We are asking people to do something that is difficult and disruptive of their lives,” he said.

“And the right moment, as we’ve always said, is to do it when it’s most effective. When we think it can make the biggest difference to slowing the spread of the disease, reducing the number of victims, reducing the number of fatalities.”

Next weekend it will go even further and those with the most serious health conditions will need to be “largely shielded” from social contact for 12 weeks, the PM said.

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