The couple capped off the first day of their royal tour on Tuesday with a reception held at the Gravity bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. While sipping on the famous beer, conversation turned to the headline-dominating virus that has killed thousands around the world and is rapidly spreading.
Speaking with a National Ambulance Service paramedic, Prince William said, “I bet everyone’s like, ‘I’ve got Coronavirus, I’m dying’, and you’re like, ‘No, you’ve just got a cough.’ ” The 37-year-old royal then asked, “Does it seem quite dramatic about coronavirus at the moment? Is it being a little bit hyped up do you think in the media?”
“By the way, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spreading coronavirus!” he joked, feigning horror. “Sorry! We’re keeping an eye on that, so do tell us if we need to stop!”
Coronavirus cases in the U.K. have recently risen to 85, according to the BBC. Though no deaths have been reported in the U.K. at this time.
The outbreak has sickened more than 94,000 people worldwide, according to the New York Times. As of Wednesday, at least 3,210 have died, with the majority of the deaths in China, where the virus first spread.
Prince William was heard speaking about coronavirus to emergency workers during a visit to Dublin's Guinness Brewery with wife Kate.— NBC News World (@NBCNewsWorld) March 4, 2020
"I bet everyone's like, 'I've got coronavirus, I'm dying,' and you're like, 'no, you've just got a cough'," he said. pic.twitter.com/bLN7ztXEIw
Kate Middleton and Prince William
A royal source tells PEOPLE that William has been taking the threat of the coronavirus seriously and that the couple is following guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Health — and that means “business as usual” for now.
Queen Elizabeth, however, wore gloves for an investiture ceremony on Tuesday, prompting speculation whether she was taking precautions against coronavirus.
PA Wire/PA Images Queen Elizabeth
At the reception, William and Kate met locals from the worlds of the creative arts, sports, business and charity. The bar, providing panoramic views of the city, was the setting for the party hosted by the British ambassador Robin Barnett.
PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Kate Middleton
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The royal couple sipped beers — and William spoke of following in the footsteps of his grandmother, who popped in during her tour of Ireland in 2011.
“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,” he said. “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!”