Public urged to continue protecting family and friends

Everyone across England is being urged to continue letting fresh air into enclosed spaces, take up the offer of twice-weekly free testing, wash their hands and book both doses of their vaccine, in a major new campaign.

As we have moved into step 4 of the roadmap and restrictions have been cautiously lifted, the campaign begins across radio and print advertising to encourage the nation to remind the public of the importance of continuing healthy behaviours to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

This includes a new short film, narrated by TV doctor and practising GP, Dr Amir Khan. The message encourages the public to meet outside if they can, let fresh air in when inside, wear a face covering in crowded places, check-in into venues and test regularly, even if they have been vaccinated.

The film shows how those positive actions that have become second nature to many people over the pandemic should continue to be implemented into everyday lives.

New research was conducted as part of the campaign which reveals nearly 9 in 10 (86%) hope that people will proceed with caution and common sense even with restrictions lifted.

The full list of actions being invited to continue include:

  • booking your first or second vaccine if eligible without delay
  • letting fresh air into enclosed spaces
  • regular twice weekly testing
  • taking a PCR test even if you only have mild symptoms
  • checking in to venues using the NHS COVID-19 app
  • washing hands often and carrying hand sanitiser
  • wearing face masks when in close proximity to others and distancing is not possible, particularly in enclosed spaces such as public transport or small shops

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "We should all be proud of the efforts of our nation in getting us to a point where we have been able to lift restrictions in a careful and cautious way as we move one step closer to normal life. This new campaign highlights the importance of continuing to follow the simple actions we have become accustomed to, such as practising good hygiene and letting in fresh air wherever possible.

"Our world-leading vaccine programme has helped us build a strong wall of defence, saving tens of thousands of lives and preventing millions of infections. By the end of September, we plan to make full vaccination a condition of entry to nightclubs and other venues where large crowds gather, as well as for quarantine-free travel from amber list countries. I urge everyone who is eligible to book their first and second jabs without delay."

Dr. Amir Khan, practising GP who features in the new film said: "Thanks to the nation’s efforts, we are now able to travel to family and friends across the country, and visit the places that we love and have missed – such as cinemas, sports stadiums and restaurants. But whilst we can enjoy the benefits of restrictions lifting, please remember that COVID-19 is still with us. Good ventilation indoors, regular testing and handwashing are just some of the actions that will help stop the spread.

"If you have the virus, its particles bind to you. These particles are spread while you talk, exhale, eat or perform other normal daily activities – which makes continuing to carry out these simple actions so important. Being vaccinated helps protect you and those around you further, because the vaccine limits the volume or quantity of viral particles shed by individuals who are infected with the virus. All these actions are common sense and second nature to us now. I would encourage people to keep doing them and help keep life moving."

While data from Public Health England estimates that the vaccination programme in England has prevented over 11 million infections and saved almost 37,000 lives, around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.

Even if someone has been vaccinated, they can still get the virus and pass it on. This is because its particles bind to individuals and spread through talking, exhaling, eating, or performing other normal daily activities. The vaccination limits the volume or quantity of viral particles shed by individuals who are infected with the virus helping to stop the spread.

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