Prince William has joked about unwittingly “spreading” the coronavirus while meeting well-wishers during his Irish tour.
William poked fun at himself after he questioned a paramedic about whether he thought coverage of the illness was “being a little hyped up” in the media.
His comments came as it emerged the royal and his wife, who are on a three-day visit to Ireland, are taking advice on the coronavirus threat, but will continue meeting people as usual.
William talked about the infection as he chatted to emergency workers at a reception hosted by Britain’s Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett in the Gravity Bar at Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse.
He asked Joe Mooney, an advance paramedic with the National Ambulance Service: “I bet everyone’s like ‘I’ve got coronavirus, I’m dying’, and you’re like ‘no, you’ve just got a cough’.
Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up do you think in the media?
Later he grimaced with mock horror as he said: “By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus, Sorry.
“We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop.”
The couple shook hands with dozens of people on the first day of their tour and are expected to continue to do so, based on advice they are being given.
William and Kate enjoyed a pint of Guinness at the Storehouse with the duke toasting his hosts, raising his pint and saying “sláinte”.
“Catherine and I are delighted to be here tonight and are both very grateful to Robin for his generous words,” he said.
Ireland is a country that we have both heard so much about, so we are really excited to be here with you to see it first-hand for ourselves.
“In coming to the Guinness Storehouse, we are retracing the footsteps of my grandmother, who was shown how to pour the perfect pint here in 2011.
“Ladies and Gentlemen let me tell you it is not often that I find myself following the Queen to a pub. But I am looking forward to testing for myself the theory that Guinness tastes even better in Ireland than overseas.”