Today, Wednesday 29 July, a London-wide campaign to address low awareness of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing launches – Keep London Safe. A collaboration between London Councils, the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation, supported by Public Health England (PHE), the NHS, and Greater London Authority (GLA), the partnership will span borough boundaries and address the challenges of London’s diversity, deprivation and density.
Keep London Safe has been designed to reach communities across the capital by sharing key national public health messages around COVID-19 after a poll showed 46 per cent of Londoners don’t know how to get a test.
The capital’s public services, boroughs, businesses and communities will be promoting the Keep London Safe message to all Londoners through social media, posters and adverts. This includes tailoring the message to target their local communities, for example Keep Waltham Forest Safe or Keep Merton Safe.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“Thanks to the monumental efforts of Londoners we have significantly reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in the capital, but we must continue to do everything we can to keep London safe. I urge Londoners to continue washing your hands regularly, keep a safe distance from others and wear face coverings in enclosed spaces.
“If you have any COVID-19 symptoms please stay at home and get tested as soon as possible and follow the instructions of NHS Test and Trace if they contact you. By taking these important steps we can stop the further spread of the virus and avoid a deadly second wave.”
London influencers and community leaders have committed to supporting the campaign, including football team Leyton Orient FC, author and anti-FGM activist Hibo Wardere, who will all be donning Keep London Safe masks and raising awareness of the NHS Test and Trace system alongside other key public health advice.
The campaign has been developed to increase awareness and understanding of NHS Test and Trace, and with the backing of the Mayor of London will drive home public health messaging and make sure Londoners know how to get a test if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Insight from a poll carried by YouGov for the GLA* in June 2020 found that:
- 46 per cent of Londoners don’t know how to get a test and 35 per cent know little or nothing about NHS Test and Trace
- Londoners from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and those over 65 least likely to know how to get a test
- One in four Londoners wouldn’t use a contact tracing app – and concern about privacy is by far the biggest reason
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director for Public Health England said:
“Alongside our local partners, our health protection experts at PHE London have been working tirelessly to keep Londoners safe and healthy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, Londoners have played a central role by following the government advice on social distancing, self-isolation, wearing face coverings and practising good hand hygiene. Thanks to this hard work, new cases of coronavirus in the city are low, but we must remain vigilant to keep London safe.
“We call on all Londoners to keep playing their part – if you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste, stay at home and arrange a test immediately and if needed, support the work of NHS Test and Trace. All of this will help keep your local community, your borough and London as a city, a safe and healthy place to live.”
Cllr Ray Puddifoot MBE, Executive Member for Health and Care, London Councils said:
“London boroughs remain committed to protecting and supporting Londoners in this new phase of the fight against Covid-19. The Keep London Safe campaign is a vital part of our work. By sharing key public health information with all of our residents, including how to get tested, we aim to continue controlling the virus, help save lives and keep London’s economy moving.”
Anti-FGM activist and author Hibo Wardere from Waltham Forest is one of the influencers taking part in the campaign. Hibo said: “It’s really great to see that councils are working together to stop the spread of the virus, and that they are really serious about reaching every corner of London’s communities. I am proud to take part in the campaign in Waltham Forest and urge others to do the same. Wear a mask to help save lives, wash your hands and get tested if you have symptoms.”
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, get a test immediately, call 119 or visit nhs.uk/coronavirus.
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough, or
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
If NHS test and trace gets in touch to say you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you must follow their instructions and stay at home for 14 days.