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The story behind ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’

A NHS signage about coronavirus advice people to "Stay home. Save lives" is displayed on the advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus in London - The story behind 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives' - GETTY IMAGES
A NHS signage about coronavirus advice people to “Stay home. Save lives” is displayed on the advertising boards at Piccadilly Circus in London – The story behind ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ – GETTY IMAGES

The Government’s messaging during the coronavirus crisis must rank as one of the most successful communications in modern political history. Only the Thatcher administration’s “Don’t die of ignorance” public health campaign in the 1980s about the Aids virus outbreak has come close.

But how did it come about? And more importantly given its success how will the Government convince people that it is now safe to start to venture out of doors in coming weeks?

The genesis of the message can be traced to a Zoom conference call convened by Lee Cain, Boris Johnson’s director of communications, on the afternoon of Thursday 19 March, just as the Government was moving towards imposing the

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