UK public urged to "stay at home" to fight coronavirus in major advertising campaign

LONDON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The British government on Saturday urged Britons to "stay at home" in a major advertising campaign to help protect Britain's national health system and save lives as surging coronavirus cases are threatening to overwhelm hospitals in the country.

A digital display at a bus station warns pedestrians of the new strain of coronavirus in central London on January 8, 2021, as England entered a third lockdown due to the COVID-19. (Photo: AFP)

Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer, said in a advert rolled out on radio, TV and social media: "COVID-19, especially the new variant, is spreading quickly across the country. This puts many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS (National Health Service)."

"Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives," he added.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also urging compliance of the public to tackle the crisis.

"Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any other time since the start of the pandemic, and infection rates across the entire country continue to soar at an alarming rate. The vaccine rollout has given us renewed hope, but it's critical for now we stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives." he said on Twitter Saturday.

The latest development came as Britain recorded another 68,053 coronavirus cases, the highest ever daily increase since the pandemic began in the country, official figures showed Friday.

This brought the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 2,957,472.

Another 1,325 people have died within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test, the highest daily death toll, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 79,833, the data showed.

On Friday, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" in the British capital as rising coronavirus cases are threatening to overwhelm hospitals.

A "major incident" is defined as being "beyond the scope of business-as-usual operations, and is likely to involve serious harm, damage, disruption or risk to human life or welfare, essential services, the environment or national security".

Major incidents have previously been called for the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017 and the terror attacks at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the pandemic began in the country. To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.