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Love Island stars jet off abroad after promoting NHS Test and Trace

Love Island stars Shaughna Phillips and Josh Denzel jet off to sunny climes months after taking taxpayers’ cash to promote NHS Test and Trace system – as medics admit system doesn’t work

  • Shaughna Phillips and Josh Denzel have both shared snaps in exotic locations
  • The pair were paid earlier this year to promote Test and Trace to their followers
  • They are among a flurry of influencers leaving Britain for sun-soaked hot-spots
  • Influencers have been criticised by politicians and NHS staff for the trips abroad 

Love Island stars have been pictured jetting off to sun-soaked locations months after taking taxpayers’ cash to promote NHS Test and Trace – as a top health chief today warned the system isn’t working.

While millions of Britons live under stay-at-home orders, influencers such as Shaughna Phillips and Josh Denzel have both shared snaps of themselves in exotic locations.

Phillips shared a picture of herself in Dubai today, while Denzel has posted a number of snaps of himself in Barbados over the last fortnight. 

The pair were both paid to promote the NHS Test and Trace service earlier this year to their combined 2.7million Instagram following. 

Now, amid growing concern over the strain on the NHS due to Covid, medics and politicians have slammed influencers for rubbing their glamorous life-styles ‘in the noses of the British public’.

The criticism also comes as health chiefs say the Test and Trace service they and other influencers were paid to promote is ‘not working effectively and needs to be fixed’. 

The advertising campaign saw influencers including Phillips and Denzel share a message of support for the NHS and its testing system.

Earlier this year Ms Phillips, a former local council worker Phillips, posted a throwback picture of her and friends on a night out as part of a promotion campaign for NHS Test and Trace.

In the post, the Love Island star, who today shared a picture of herself posed up in a bright orange swimsuit in Dubai, urged her 1.5million followers to get a test on the NHS. 

Shaughna Phillips shared a picture of herself in Dubai today – after promoting the NHS Test and Trace system as part of an advertising campaign earlier this year

Josh Denzel has recently posted pictures of himself in Barabdos as he enjoys a sun-soaked holiday

Shaughna wrote: ‘Getting tested for coronavirus is the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love and I love nothing more than spending time with my friends’

Holiday fun: The media personality pictured with fellow Islanders (L-R) Amy Hart, Georgia Harrison, Rebecca Gormley and Biggs Chris at Olivia’s La Cala in Malaga

In the post, she said: ‘A throwback to what I love most! Nights out and good friends!

What are the rules for travelling abroad during lockdown? 

According to the Government’s website: ‘Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

‘In England, you can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.’

The Government advises that those who do need to travel overseas – and are legally permitted to do so – should check the travel advice in the area they are going to to make sure they are compliant.

It adds: ‘UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

‘Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday.

‘If you are visiting the UK, you may return home.’

‘Although this may feel like a distant memory to us all, we can all do our part to make sure we can get back to better times, as safely as possible.

‘Guys I want to remind you about the importance of coronavirus testing and that its totally free, quick and is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus.

‘Getting tested for coronavirus is the best way for us all to get back to doing the things we love and I love nothing more than spending time with my friends.

‘Yesterday I visited my nearest drive though testing centre, which is literally 2 minutes from my house!

‘I was able to book a test online, and have it carried out all under 1 hour, it was so convenient!’

She continued: ‘When I woke up this morning I had already received my results by text and email!

‘I’ve also checked the Royal Mail website to see where my nearest priority postbox is, as well as the stickers I need to look out for on the postbox itself.

‘This will help me in the future if I need to carry out a home test kit.

‘Everyone with symptoms, no matter how mild, can get a free test by calling 119 or visiting #letsgetback #gettested #ad.’

Fellow Love Island contest Mr Denzel, who has posted several snaps of himself enjoying beach-front holiday in Barbados in recent weeks, also took part in the promotion campaign. 

Posting to his 1.5million following, the 29-year-old said the thing he missed most was travelling and said ‘by getting tested of coronavirus we can get back to the good times’. 

In the post, marked up as an advert and under the caption ‘stay at home’, he said the NHS had done ‘an incredible job’ and said ‘now it’s our turn to help them out by getting tested’. 

Speaking out: Meanwhile Josh Denzel posted to his 1.2million followers and tagged ‘staying at home’ as his location on August 14 as he lamented not being able to travel

Downing Street refused to reveal how much they had spent on the ads involving influencers and bloggers at the time.

However a social media expert told the Sunday Mirror that such influencers would typically command ‘£5,000 to £10,000’ per ad post. 

The influencers were reportedly told in a brief to ‘heap praise’ on the NHS but were told not to ‘criticise the Government or its guidance’. 

Both Denzel and Phillips are among a flurry of influencers who have posted pictures of themselves in exotic locations in recent weeks, while Britons remain locked down at home. 

Although the influencers are not breaking the law, their trips have raised eyebrows.

Labour blasted the influencers saying they should stop rubbing their noses in it in front of the British public.

Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders demanded the reality stars help promote the vaccination programme free of charge.

He blasted: ‘Not only do images of the rich jetting off to holiday hotspots rub the noses in it of everyone who is making enormous sacrifices to comply with the latest lockdown back in the UK, but it sends out a wholly contradictory message to the stay at home requests of the Government.

Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders demanded the reality stars help promote the vaccination programme free of charge.

‘These people should instead be offering to get behind the Government’s vaccination plans and supporting that on social media, free of charge.’

Frontline workers have also been left furious that while they are pulling 12-hours shifts, the Insta-famous are jetting abroad.

Nurse Holly Turner said: ‘What we can all see is the pressure that our NHS has been under from people not following health advice.

‘When I’m out there struggling to do my job, and the families I work with are pleading for support that they can’t have due to this lockdown, it’s pretty disgusting to see the attitude that influencers and clothing brands have taken.

‘Covid-19 has shown us how inter-related our health is. Nurse, child or fashion influencer, we all need to do our part.’ 

Danny Mortimer said the NHS Track and Trace system needs to be fixed, as he warned of high infection rates

Today a Government spokesperson warned ‘no-one was above the law’ and that those who did break the rules were putting friends family and the wider public at ‘serious risk’. 

So far more than 80,000 people in the UK have died from Covid-related illnesses, with numbers skyrocketing in recent weeks – putting added pressure on healthcare services. 

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation – a membership body for organisations that commission and provide National Health Service services – today warned the UK’s Test and Trace system does not work effectively.

Danny Mortimer said the systems needs to be fixed, as he warned of high infection rates.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Mortimer said: ‘We need the rate of infection to go down well in advance of the benefit of the vaccination programme.

‘We still, for the last few weeks now, have seen growing incidences of infection in our communities.

‘We’ve struggled as a country to have a test, trace and isolate system that works effectively – it just doesn’t work as well as it does in countries like Australia and various other parts of the world. That has to be fixed.’ 

He added: ‘We also know from experience from across the world that, in the absence of a properly functioning test, trace and isolate system, the most effective way of controlling the virus, without access to vaccines, is to minimise social contact, maintain levels of hygiene, ventilate areas and wear a face mask.’ 

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