Downing Street has branded social media footage of a verbal attack on Professor Chris Whitty as “unacceptable”.
A video shared on TikTok showed a young man repeatedly accusing England’s chief medical officer of “lying” about Covid-19, while the scientist was out walking near Westminster in central London.
The incident was condemned by Downing Street on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “Chris Whitty is an outstanding public servant who has worked incredibly hard and tirelessly to help steer us through what has been a very, very challenging time over the past year.
“And it is clearly unacceptable that somebody who has done so much is being subject to this sort of behaviour.”
The catcaller who confronted Prof Whitty in the street was earlier labelled “pathetic” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
In the footage, the young man, who is holding the camera, walks around Prof Whitty, telling him: “Liar. You’re a liar. Mandem is a liar. You’re a liar. You lie about the Covid-19 cases. Stop lying to the TV, man.”
It is unclear when the video was taken, but Prof Whitty did not respond to the taunts and appeared to be waiting for food from a nearby market stall.
Read more: Downing Street condemns ‘unacceptable’ verbal attack on Whitty – ‘It is clearly unacceptable that somebody who has done so much [to destroy the country and tens of millions of lives] is being subject to this sort of behaviour’