Edwina Currie Compares Johnson’s COVID Patients Handshaking With Princess Diana’s HIV Response

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 17 Mar 2021 12:01
Edwina Currie Compares Johnson's COVID Patients Handshaking With Princess Diana's HIV ResponseITV/PA Images

Former Tory minister Edwina Curry has come under fire for making a bizarre comparison between Boris Johnson and Princess Diana.

Curry appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning, March 17, to debate the shortcomings of the government’s handling of the pandemic.


But, it wasn’t long before the former MP got into a spat with host Susanna Reid, telling her, ‘you’re not Piers, so let me respond!’

Check it out here:

However, things got even more bizarre when Curry jumped to the defence of the PM, after Reid listed all the government’s failings at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.


‘Right, look. This time last year absolutely nobody in this country, or indeed, in most other countries, had any experience of anything like this. If you’re a government minister, as I have been a minister of health, you rely heavily on the experts for advice and you don’t try and counter argue with them, and they rely on information, which at that time was very scrappy, what was coming out of China was very limited,’ Edwina said.

She continued:

We hadn’t realised until many months later that we were being infected from Spain, from Italy, from France, people coming back from half-term holidays that had gone skiing were bringing the infection back, it was already too late to stop that. There was a big Champion’s League football match on in Liverpool, exactly a year ago today, with thousands of fans coming in from Spain, bringing the infection with them but we had no idea. We had no idea it was so infectious, we had no idea it was so lethal. We did our best.

Edwina Currie Compares Johnson's COVID Patients Handshaking With Princess Diana's HIV ResponseITV

The former cabinet minister went on to compare Boris Johnson shaking people’s hands – despite social distancing rules being in place – to that of Princess Diana shaking hands with people with HIV in the 1980s.

Curry said:

The Prime Minister shook hands as a reflection of what Diana did during the HIV problems, do you remember those? When Diana went into the hospitals in order to shake hands with patients and to say to them ‘you are not being stigmatised,’ that I think is what he was doing.

Of course, it’s important to note that HIV cannot be spread simply from the act of shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug – a point which Diana was keen to prove – unlike coronavirus, which can easily be spread just from standing close to someone. A fact about coronavirus that we did know at the time.


In fact, Boris Johnson did contract COVID-19 not long after footage emerged of him shaking hands with people in hospital.

Unsurprisingly, the controversial statement has provoked a range of emotions on social media, with many accusing her of trying to rewrite history.

‘Diana was showing you can’t get HIV by shaking hands. Boris Johnson encouraged people to pass on a highly contagious virus by shaking hands, one which resulted in him being hospitalised,’ one person tweeted.


Another added:

This is a disgusting and ignorant analogy. Princess Di was showing that HIV couldn’t be transmitted by touching, contrary to belief at the time. Boris was practically licking covid patients against scientists advice.

Meanwhile, others commented that she was ‘quite right’ in that no one quite understood the severity of the situation at the time, despite what could be seen going on in countries around the world.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, COVID-19, Good Morning Britain, Princess Diana


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