The Academy responds to the new ‘Hands. Face. Space.’ public information campaign announced yesterday [9 September 2020] to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 indoors this winter.
Professor Dame Anne Johnson FMedSci, Vice President, International at the Academy of Medical Sciences and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, said:
“Reducing the spread of coronavirus in our communities must be an absolute priority as we approach winter, and needs to remain high priority throughout the pandemic.
“We are pleased to see the Government’s announcement of a public information campaign to help prevent the spread of coronavirus this winter. It is vitally important to raise awareness of how we can ALL play a role to help stop the spread of the virus.
“This public health campaign will not be effective unless it reaches all parts of society, regardless of age, class, ethnicity or language. The best way to do this is work hand in hand with different communities to develop effective messages and understand the best ways to share them. This is particularly important with Black and minority ethnic groups who have been disproportionally hit by this pandemic and with young people who are currently experiencing the biggest increase in infection rates – something that must be an urgent priority to address.
“Our report on preparing for a challenging winter* highlighted the increased risk of coronavirus spread this winter – when the weather is colder and people will be spending more time inside, which is likely to favour transmission of the virus. Our report called for an extensive public information campaign to minimise spread, and improve population health to make us more resilient to coronavirus infection.
“Simple steps such as washing our hands, wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distance can make a significant difference and reduce the need for more restrictive control measures. We urge people to remember that mixing with a limited number of people and immediately isolating when sick are also paramount to help contain the spread of the virus.”
* The Academy's report ‘Preparing for a challenging winter 2020/21’ was published in July 2020 and can be found here. Further information about the project can be found here.
Find out more about our ongoing policy work supporting the UK response to the COVID-19 pandemic on our information hub.