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England v Pakistan

Azhar Ali teams up with Jay from The Inbetweeners to help fight coronavirus

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

From bio-secure bubble to briefcase w***er – Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has teamed up with James Buckley, most famous for playing potty-mouthed teenager Jay Cartwright in the hit TV show The Inbetweeners to help fight the novel coronavirus.

Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding told BBC Breakfast he had recruited the Pakistan captain and the Croydon-born actor to help spread messaging on the new restrictions in the Manchester-adjacent town. There has been criticism over the lack of clarity of the new restrictions brought into force in Oldham as the rate of transmission of infection increased locally, and Azhar’s video is intended to help allay any confusion.

“We are being quite creative in terms of how we communicate those messages,” said Fielding. “We’ve enlisted support of the Pakistani cricket captain who has recorded a video for us to get the message out to communities that might listen to him rather than listen to me.”

“The last few months have been very hard for all of us,” Azhar said in a recorded video message. “We have been unable to see our loved one, do things that we enjoy and celebrate special occasions together. But we need to hold our nerve and stick to the Covid restrictions if we are to stay safe.

He went on to outline the new instructions in place. “The best way to stop the spread is to limit contact with other people,” Azhar added. “Do not have visitors to your home or garden and if you must meet people from outside your household, please do so outdoors. Maintain social distancing and avoid physical contact. When visiting shops and when on public transport or other crowded places, you must wear a face covering.

“Hand washing is crucial. Avoid touching your face and wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. Those with symptoms might isolate and book a test as soon as possible. If you test positive, you must isolate for 10 days while others in your household must isolate for 14 days as symptoms can take a while to appear. If everyone does their bit, together we can protect ourselves, our friends and families and the wider community. By pulling together now we can be back doing the things we love sooner.”

Buckley was also asked to film a similar video.

In his less-scripted, slight more light-hearted video, Buckley says: “Hello the residents of Oldham, how’s it going? Oldham Council, for some reason, decided to trust me in giving you this quite serious message. Here’s a coronavirus guidelines reminder to Oldham residents:

“No visitors at home, don’t meet anyone you don’t live with in indoor venues. No care home visits, take extra care if you’re shielded and maintain social distancing. It is tricky, it is complicated, we do keep getting, sort of, told different things a lot of the time, just stay safe. Just isolate, stay safe, wait for this thing to blow over and maybe we can all head down the Caravan Club when the time is right.”

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