Keep up ‘second nature’ behaviour like mask-wearing, campaign urges

·5-min read
A man wearing a face mask walks past a shop in London (Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask walks past a shop in London (Getty Images)

People in England are being urged to continue wearing face coverings in crowded places, and use the NHS Covid-19 app to check in to venues, despite legal requirements to do so being lifted.

An official information campaign, which will hit airwaves, newspapers and other media from Thursday, will see the Government replace its “hands, face, space, fresh air” slogan with its new catchphrase: “Keep life moving.”

A video fronted by TV doctor Dr Amir Khan will also recommend people continue to follow social distancing guidance, as the film shows a young man stepping off a pavement to allow an older neighbour to pass.

The advice comes despite Monday being trumpeted as England’s “freedom day”, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson removing almost all legal restrictions, including social distancing guidelines.

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

Health Secretary Sajid Javid

Pressure has also been placed on young people to get a vaccine, as Health Secretary Sajid Javid reiterates the Prime Minister’s plan to make full vaccination a “condition of entry to nightclubs” by the autumn.

The campaign will warn, however, that being doubled jabbed does not entirely protect you from being infected with coronavirus, or from being told to self-isolate.

The campaign comes as hundreds of thousands of people are being hit by a “pingdemic”, causing chaos for a number of industries.

Retailers are struggling to keep shelves fully stocked amid staff shortages caused by the number of people being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, including via alerts from the Covid app.

Those who are deemed to have come into close contact with a positive coronavirus case are instructed to stay at home for 10 days.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged the Government to change self-isolation guidance for workers, with the exemptions for the double vaccinated not due to be brought in until August 16 – although some critical workers are set to be given the green light to skip quarantine before then.

The rise in the number of people having to self-isolate coincides with high daily coronavirus figures in the UK, with a further 44,104 lab-confirmed cases reported on Wednesday.

Shoppers have been taking pictures of empty shelves (PA)
Shoppers have been taking pictures of empty shelves (PA)

The number of hospital admissions is also up, with 4,510 admitted in the past seven days – 38.6 per cent up on the week before – as the Delta variant, first identified in India, continues to move through the population.

A total of 752 admissions were reported on July 19, NHS England figures show – the highest daily number since February 25, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

The Government also announced on Wednesday that a further 73 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19.

Advice issued as part of the UK Government’s campaign on how to keep safe now restrictions have eased includes urging people to stick with behaviour that has become “second nature” during the pandemic.

The recommendations include using quick-result lateral flow tests twice a week and booking a PCR test if there is any sign of even mild coronavirus symptoms.

People will be encouraged to keep washing their hands regularly, to check in to pubs, bars and restaurants using the Covid app, and to wear face masks in crowded places where “distancing is not possible”, such as public transport or small shops.

It will also place renewed emphasis on the importance of ventilation in fighting infection during social gatherings, while vaccine take-up will also be pushed.

Mr 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.

 (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“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.”

Practising GP Dr Khan 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.”

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