CORONAVIRUS was the buzzword underpinning Saturday Night Takeaway's live studio competition, where a woman was accused of deliberately losing so she could scoop a toilet roll as the booby prize.
Audience member Tara was plucked from the crowd for the lucrative Win The Ads quiz, presented by hosts Ant McParlin and Declan Donnelly.
The last place prize has always been one roll of loo roll – something which is now in huge demand due to coronavirus-sparked panic buying in shops across the UK.
Many stores have begged shoppers to stop bulk purchases of the bathroom product, as well as pasta and long-life milk, for fear "stock will run out."
As Tara failed to secure the major win in the segment, by getting a question wrong, she was instead rewarded with a roll – which some believed was a deliberate, strategic and savvy move.
ITV presenters Ant and Dec showed their sorrow at her loss, but one viewer quipped on Twitter: "Tara with her loo roll: I think we know who the real winner is here don't we?"
Another mused: "She just got that question wrong on purpose just for the toilet roll."
One ranted: "Lassie on Win The Ads on #SaturdayNightTakeaway just lost everything and won the toilet roll. Ordinarily, a s**t prize by all accounts. Not this week.
"She’ll sell that toilet roll and end up with more cash than all of the lost prizes were worth together…"
Another joked: "Tara answered wrong on purpose for the loo roll, we all know it #SaturdayNightTakeaway."
One then surmised: "That toilet roll is probably more valuable than all those prizes atm tbh #SaturdayNightTakeaway."
Yet it was not the only time during the show fans called out coronavirus.
They also highlighted the huge irony of a 'win a week off work' competition as coronavirus-sparked self-isolation takes hold.
Co-host Stephen Mulhern, who presents a gameshow spin-off , sparked a swell of reaction when he announced the ordinarily dream scenario for workers in the UK.
Yet, with the coronavirus pandemic in full force, already causing a total of 21 deaths in the country as well as sparking self-isolation and working from home measures, viewers of the ITV series were left calling out the irony.
It came on a day where the amount of cases of people suffering from the airborne illness in Britain hit 1,140, while the killer bug risk level was raised to high.
The UK is now in the delay phase, with social restriction measures to be introduced to try and slow the rate of spread.
Working from home procedures have already been implemented by some companies – sparking SNT fans to call out the competition's actual benefit.
One took to Twitter to write: "He won a week off work! He's not gonna be able to go anywhere like, but he won a week off work! #SaturdayNightTakeaway."
Another commented: "Win a week off work as the company is closing soon anyway when the whole country also gets a week off work #SaturdayNightTakeaway."
A third put: "No point in winning a week off work. It’ll soon be 14 weeks off work for everyone."
One then wittily put: "Everyone can play Win a Week off Work…. its called self isolate."
Another posted: "The irony of being able to win a week off work on @itvtakeaway at the moment.
"Just Tell your Boss you have a Cough & a high temperature 🤷🏻♂️ #COVIDー19 #antanddec #SaturdayNightTakeaway."
The segment was likely pre-recorded by ITV, with the prize coming at a time when coronavirus concerns were not a factor.
The programme, complete with live studio audience, still aired despite worries of the disease spreading quicker in mass gatherings – and host Ant was seen slathering his hands in anti bac gel as a precaution.
Yet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will next week clamp down and ban all mass gatherings in a bid to fight coronavirus.
The PM decided on the move after a host of cancellations — from the London marathon to the Premier League, sources said.
It comes as it was revealed a newborn baby in London had become one of the youngest in the world to test positive for the virus.
The fallout over coronavirus today saw Jet2 cancel all of its flights to Spain after the country declared a state of emergency.
WHO's director general, Dr Ghebreyesus, warned: "You can't fight a virus if you don't know where it is.
"Find, isolate, test and treat every case to break the chains of Covid transmission. Every case we find and treat limits the expansion of the disease.
"Do not just let this fire burn. Any country that looks at the experience of other countries with large epidemics and thinks 'that won't happen to us' is making a deadly mistake."
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