A new TV commercial from Professor Chris Whitty urges everyone in England to stay home and “act like you have” Covid-19.
According to the government, 1,325 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus – the highest number of deaths in the UK reported in a single day since the outbreak began.
In the ad, England’s Chief Medical Officer says: “Covid-19, especially the new variant, is spreading rapidly across the country.
“This puts many people with serious illnesses at risk and puts a lot of pressure on our NHS.
“We all have to stay home again. If you are dying to go out, remember to: wash your hands, cover your face indoors, and keep your distance from others.
“Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
The campaign also urges people to “act as you have it” adding that “anyone can spread it”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked the public to comply with the “stay home” message.
He said: “Our hospitals have been under more pressure than ever since the pandemic began, and infection rates across the country continue to rise at an alarming rate.
“The vaccine has given us new hope in the fight against the virus, but we must not be complacent.
“The NHS is under heavy strain and we need to take steps to protect it so that our doctors and nurses can continue to save lives and vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible.
“I know last year has taken its toll – but your observance is more important now than ever.
“So I have to say one more time to everyone to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”