THERE has been a growing outcry about social media being awash with images of so-called "influencers" sunning themselves in exotic locations. The general consensus is this simply isn't on when the "stay at home" message is vital in limiting the spread of coronavirus.

Name and shame.

Well, it's largely reality TV stars from shows such as Geordie Shore, The Only Way Is Essex and Love Island who seem to have decamped to Dubai.

There have been worrying incidents. The influencer and former Love Island contestant Zara Holland appeared in court this week for breaching quarantine protocol while on holiday in Barbados. She was fined £4,500 for trying to flee the country with her boyfriend after he caught coronavirus.

Why on earth would folk jet off on holiday during a pandemic?

Selfishness. Sense of entitlement. Stupidity. I could go on. Lest we forget Dominic Cummings jumped in a car and drove 30 miles to Barnard Castle to test his eyes while the rest of us were stuck in the house, mending our broken specs with a plaster like Jack Duckworth in Coronation Street.

Remind me what an influencer is?

Exactly what it says on the tin: an influencer is someone who can influence others. In this instance, that influence is wielded through social media.

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This can be a power for good – used to rally social justice campaigns, spread important public health messages and share excellent cat videos – but for many influencers, portraying a glamorous lifestyle is a full-time job and they are paid by brands for product placement.

Like an advert?

Precisely. It can be a lucrative business. Someone like Kylie Jenner can charge $1.2 million (£960,000) for a single post on Instagram. More typically, it can be anything between a few hundred pounds and several thousands.

They are paid to go on holiday?

In a nutshell. They are typically photographed displaying all the Ts – tans, teeth, toned limbs – at five-star hotels, perched on loungers beside turquoise pools, sipping cocktails and trying to look natural while contorted in odd poses that best display all the wares they need to promote.

That's fine and dandy in more usual times but with the current high prevalence of the virus, the majority of the UK in lockdown and restrictions on travel, the ethics of promoting international destinations are somewhat dubious.

Didn't some footballers go to Dubai?

Celtic FC jetted off for a warm-weather training camp. They had been given special approval by the Scottish Government. However, photographs of players and staff enjoying beers by the pool, understandably, didn't go down well with everyone.

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What's the upshot?

A very real hope that once this pandemic is under control, scientists might fast-track a vaccine that can be used to administer common sense.

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