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Britain launches ad campaign to save lives over coronavirus

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - Britain is stepping up a media campaign on TV, radio, print and social media to ram home the message that people need to stay at home to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

Featuring the British government's top doctor Chris Whitty, the TV adverts warn people to "Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives".

As the coronavirus outbreak sweeps across the world, governments are grappling with the biggest public health crisis since the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had faced a backlash after his government initially took a less stringent approach to tackling the virus than countries such as Italy, France and Spain.

But by Monday he had imposed a lockdown on the country. The adverts, produced by IPG's MullenLowe Group, repeat the message that Britons can only leave the house to shop for food or medicines, travel for essential work and exercise.

"Anyone can spread coronavirus," the radio advert says. "Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. Stay home, protect the NHS (National Health Service), save lives."

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Costas Pitas)