‘Since when did they become an authority on social behaviour?’: BBC is slammed for creating ‘creepy and weird’ cartoon guide for ‘safer hugging’ during pandemic
- News corporation posted advice online alongside cartoons of people hugging
- Stirred up a backlash from people online questioning BBC’s authority on matter
- May 17 dubbed Happy Hug Day in England after lockdown measures eased
The BBC has been slammed for creating a ‘creepy and weird’ guide to ‘safer hugging’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
The corporation posted advice online alongside cartoons showing people practising ‘safe hugging’ ahead of lockdown rules being eased today.
May 17 has been dubbed Happy Hug Day in England after social distancing measures that have banned physical contact between family and friends, outside of bubbles, were relaxed in the the latest phase of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.
But the BBC decided the British public may need further education on how to correctly hug someone and collated advice from ‘the experts’, including a professor on the Sage committee.
The guide sparked a backlash online with some questioning when the corporation ‘became an authority on social behaviour’.
The news corporation posted advice online alongside cartoons showing people practising ‘safe hugging’ ahead of lockdown rules being eased today
May Morris is hugged by her granddaughter Francesca Royle for the first time in months this morning in Carlisle
Two youngsters from Hamilton, Scotland, enjoyed a cuddle at the door of their nursery as Scotland also relaxed restrictions. The image was shared by @jojofalconer on Twitter
Its guidance states that anyone engaging in the act of hugging should:
‘1. Turn faces away and keep hug short.
2. Don’t hug face-to-face.
3. Wear a mask if one of you is vulnerable.
4. Don’t hug too many people.’
Social media users instantly took to Twitter to blast the advice. Writer and video maker Steven Edginton retweeted the graphic describing it as ‘creepy and weird’.
Another user commented: ‘Since when did the BBC become an authority on social behaviour?’
While another said: ‘Patronising BBC gives out HUGGING tips.’ And another wrote: ‘The BBC article on hugging has got me raging today!’
Social media users instantly took to Twitter to blast the advice. Writer and video maker Steven Edginton retweeted the graphic describing it as ‘creepy and weird’
Coventry: Customers enjoy a game of pool and hugging at the The Oak Inn as indoor hospitality and entertainment venues reopen
A grandfather hugs his granddaughter after almost 14 months of not being able to due to lockdown restrictions. @SeanC_Mayo, who posted the image on social media, said the moment was a sign that ‘normality’ was finally returning to life
Two weeks ago, the Government said advice ‘on social distancing between friends and family’ would be updated on May 17, and despite fears that the Indian variant would scupper people being allowed to embrace, the hug ban has been lifted as planned.
However, hugging is a ‘high-risk procedure’, Professor Peter Openshaw said this morning.
The professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, who is a member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), told BBC Breakfast: ‘Some of us are quite happy not to be hugging and kissing many times on the cheek.
‘This is a high-risk procedure, I would say in medical terms and I would certainly not be embracing people closely. I think you can greet people perfectly well at a distance with a smile and a kind word.’
Referring to today’s new freedoms, Professor Sir Mark Walport, England’s former chief scientific adviser who also sits on SAGE, claimed that just because people are legally allowed to do something doesn’t mean they should. He told the Guardian: ‘My personal judgement is that I will do things outside as far as possible. My advice is that just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.’
Another said: ‘Patronising BBC gives out HUGGING tips.’ And another wrote: ‘The BBC article on hugging has got me raging today!’
SAGE adviser Graham Medley, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, suggested people should avoid going to pubs or restaurants in areas with low vaccine uptake or high Indian variant case numbers.
He told LBC Radio he would only dine indoors if the establishment ‘was suitably organised and it looked okay and was in an area of low prevalence and the clientele was very old [and therefore mostly vaccinated].’ He added: ‘I’ll certainly hug my children and grandchildren and others very close to me. But will I be hugging strangers? No’.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show last weekend, Mr Gove said that the government wanted to restore ‘contact between friends and family’.
He said: ‘All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we’ve already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.
‘In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.
‘And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.’
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