Government launches campaign to reduce winter COVID-19 spike

The Government has stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the lead-up to winter with the launch of a public information campaign urging people to continue to wash their hands, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

The Government campaign highlights the three most effective methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19
The Government campaign highlights the three most effective methods of preventing the spread of COVID-19

‘Hands. Face. Space.’ was launched this week with the release of a campaign film that uses special effects in a scientific reconstruction of everyday situations, showing how the virus is spread via personal interactions, on surfaces and through the air.

The film was developed by Freuds’ health and behaviour-change team.

The campaign launches amid concern about a second wave of the virus and the implications for people’s daily lives.

Following the first wave of the pandemic, the average daily number of people testing positive for COVID-19 across the UK dropped to a low of 540 in early July.

But in recent weeks the number of new cases has slowly risen and currently stands at an average of 2,500 a day, according to official figures.

Local lockdowns across England and Wales have been imposed in response to regional spikes in infections.

As winter approaches – and more people stay inside – the possibility of cases rising even more rapidly in enclosed spaces is a major concern. 

Key messages

The new campaign encourages the public to take simple steps to reduce the risk of infection. It seeks to propagate the key messages that, while deaths due to COVID-19 have reduced, the virus is still in circulation and affecting people in all age groups.

It conveys the message that people must be vigilant in their daily habits to control the spread of COVID-19 and that wearing a face covering, keeping two metres apart and washing hands throughout the day are the three most effective ways to do this.

The public is also encouraged to report symptoms of the virus, in themselves or members of their social groups, and to book a test via the NHS.

Paid and earned

The campaign is running TV, radio, print, out-of-home, social and digital display advertising, as well as on community media channels, and will be supported by a variety of public and private sector partners throughout the coming weeks.

The campaign has already earned PR coverage, including in the Daily Mail online and on Sky News.

Conrad Bird
Conrad Bird

Conrad Bird (pictured above), the architect of the successful GREAT campaign and now director of campaigns and marketing in the COVID-19 Hub at the Cabinet Office, said: “All Government campaigns are grounded in the latest scientific understanding. Since the outbreak we have continued to learn about the virus and how it behaves. ‘Hands. Face. Space’ is based on the latest knowledge of the virus, which we’ve used to highlight the essential behaviours we must all follow to control the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and those around us. This is particularly important as we approach winter, when more of us are going to spending times indoors which could increase the risk of the virus spreading.”

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