As the world’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 have been hit by a double blow, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has turned to the most unlikely of heroes to lead the fightback.
On Sunday the WHO reported the biggest rise in infection for a single 24-hour period, with 183,020 new cases. Almost two thirds of the new infections were seen in North and South America with around 116,041 new infections reported.
It came as Germany’s coronavirus R number has from 1.79 to 2.88 during a single 24 hours over the weekend.
The Robert Koch Institute for public health (RKI), which has been publishing the country’s COVID-19 statistics, said the new number is based on a four-day average. It is a bitter blow as the R rate indicates that for every 100 people in Germany that have the disease, they will spread it to a further 288.
In response the WHO has launched a global public services announcement (PSA) campaign that will be founded by comedy cartoon star, Mr Bean.
The organisation said with cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise globally, “Mr Bean’s Essential COVID-19 Checklist” is a reminder to people about the importance of washing hands, physical distancing and demonstrating kindness to their neighbours. The PSA features a cartoon sketch of Mr Bean comically tackling a pesky roller blind to finally reveal a number of essential tips to protect people against COVID-19.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, (pic below) Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said: “COVID-19 affects every walk of human life, and we need to use all tools and avenues at our disposal to share life-saving information with all people around the world. I am grateful for the support of the team behind Mr Bean for lending your voice and talents to spread vital advice on physical distancing, hygiene and knowing the symptoms.”
The PSA is voiced by Mr Bean star, Rowan Atkinson, who created the Mr Bean character to be “a child in a grown man’s body” when he was at Oxford University along with filmmaker and Sustainable Development Goal advocate Richard Curtis. Mr Bean, which was originally broadcast in the 1990s before transforming into an animated series, has since expanded on a global scale with 96 million Facebook followers globally and major fanbases across India, Brazil and Indonesia. Mr Bean also celebrates his 30th anniversary in 2020.
Richard Curtis said: “We are delighted to work with the WHO on this Mr Bean sketch and to support health messaging around COVID-19. In 2015 193 world leaders committed to 17 Global Goals to end poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Good Health and Wellbeing is Goal 3 and central to achieving all of the Global Goals. It’s key that we work with creative partners – and that all sectors come together to continue to get messages out about how we can tackle COVID-19 and build back a better world where the Global Goals remain the guiding plan to be achieved by 2030. I’m not quite sure which sector Mr Bean belongs too – but we’re delighted to have him on board.”