New hard-hitting national TV ad urges the nation to stay at home

Everyone across the UK is being asked “Can you look them in the eyes and tell them you’re helping by staying at home?” in a new Government advertising campaign which will act as a stark reminder to the public of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the extreme pressures facing frontline workers.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 6:10 pm

The powerful new campaign will run across TV, radio, press, digital, out of home advertising and social media, looking into the eyes of NHS staff and COVID-19 patients and documenting their emotions. It will air for the first time on Friday evening (22nd) on ITV and Channel 4.

With a shift in tone to previous adverts, the new campaign features raw footage and testimonials from patients who have COVID-19, as well as the NHS staff who are working around the clock to look after them at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

The impact of the second wave is still being seen in hospitals across the country with someone admitted every 30 seconds with the virus, and a quarter of those are under the age of 55. There are currently over 38,000 beds taken up in England by COVID-19 patients.

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The powerful new campaign will run across TV

The adverts are designed to remind everyone, including those who have had the vaccine, of the ongoing need for caution when on public transport, or shopping, and to make sure they only use these services when it is essential to do so and to adhere to the principles of hands, face and space. The campaign challenges the public to question their actions, and asks if they can look frontline workers in the eyes and tell them they are helping to stop the spread by following the rules and staying at home.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said:

“The NHS is under intense pressure. They are relying on all of us to follow the rules.

“I know how long the last few months have felt, and I know the vast majority of people are following the rules, but we have come too far to let up now.

“Every day we are closer to beating this virus, and already over 5 million people across the UK have been vaccinated. But right now more than ever we need to stick together to protect our NHS and to keep saving lives.

“The message couldn't be clearer - stay at home.”

Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said: “The impact of the current wave is still putting significant pressure on hospitals across the country and many patients are very sick.

“Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all continue to play our part in protecting the NHS and saving lives.”

Latest COVID-19 stats show the UK has seen the highest number of deaths recorded from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with over 1,000 people dying per day for the last 10 days.

The vast majority of people are staying at home and as a result, the number of COVID-19 cases has reduced, but infections remain high and there are signs of a plateau. Everyone must continue to play their part to ensure rates reduce even further.

The new strain of the virus is around 50 - 70% more transmissible than the strain circulating in 2020. Additionally it is now estimated around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 don’t have symptoms and are spreading it without knowing. The actions of a few people who are ignoring or bending the rules are putting everyone at risk and placing further pressure on doctors, nurses and NHS staff across the country.

The Government guidance remains clear – Stay at Home unless absolutely essential.

To support the message, an additional short film has been developed featuring one-on-one interviews with the hospital staff from Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. and patients from both Basingstoke and St George’s hospital in London who feature in the new advertising campaign. Within the interviews you hear about the daily lives of these hospital staff and the impact COVID-19 has had on them and calls on the public to take the message seriously and stay at home to help stop the spread.

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