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Chris Whitty: England's chief medical officer harassed by members of the public

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By Euronews
Metropolitan Police say they have been in contact with Professor Whitty over the video.
Metropolitan Police say they have been in contact with Professor Whitty over the video.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool   -  

UK police are investigating a video that appears to show England's chief medical officer being harassed in a London park.

The footage seems to show Professor Chris Whitty being approached by two men in St James's Park on Sunday. The men can be seen laughing and grabbing hold of Prof Whitty, who tries to free himself.

The video has been widely condemned by UK MPs, as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In a statement on Twitter, police in London confirmed that they were investigating the incident.

"We are aware of a video being shared online showing an incident in St James’s Park," they stated.

"Officers spoke to all those involved at the time and their details were taken. We are in contact with the victim and the circumstances continue to be investigated."

PM Johnson said he was "shocked at seeing the despicable harassment" of England's chief medical officer (CMO).

"I condemn the behaviour of these thugs," he said on Twitter. "Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it."

The UK's new health secretary Sajid Javid has also described the incident as "appalling and totally unacceptable".

"The CMO works tirelessly on behalf of the country. We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour towards our public servants. The men behaving in this disgraceful way should be ashamed."

Whitty has previously been confronted by members of the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The physician and epidemiologist has played a central role in the UK's response to the coronavirus outbreak and has often appeared alongside PM Johnson at televised press conferences.