This German coronavirus ad is urging young people to be the heroes of 2020 - by staying at home on the couch

The ads were released as the German government considers new social restrictions to halt the rise in coronavirus infections.

A powerful ad urging young people in Germany to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral.

A powerful ad urging young people in Germany to stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic has gone viral. Source: YouTube

The German government has released a series of ads hailing couch potatoes as the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In one of the 90-second videos, an elderly man from the future sits in a chair recounting his “service” to the nation when he was a young student in 2020.

“I had just turned 22 and was studying engineering, when the second wave hit,” the man says into the camera, before it switches to a scene of the narrator as a young man.

“Suddenly the fate of this country lay in our hands,” he says. “So we mustered all our courage and did what was expected of us, the only right thing. We did nothing.

“Days and nights, we stayed on our backsides at home and fought against the spread of the coronavirus,” the narrator continues. “Our couch was the front line and our patience was our weapon.”

The ad ends with a government message that “you too can become a hero by staying at home”.

German health officials call on young people to be 'heroes' and stop the spread of COVID-19 in new ad

In a separate video, an elderly couple talk about how they met each other in 2020.

“The whole country put their hopes in us young people. We plucked up all our courage and did nothing,” a woman says.

“We lazed around at home, met as few people as possible, and with that stopped the spread of COVID-19.”

The woman speaks of the couple’s ability to “laze around at home with such bravery”, as the camera cuts to them eating fried chicken in bed. 

“We were special heroes,” she said.

The videos have been widely shared on social media, with many praising the German government’s sense of humour as well as its message of social distancing.

Germany’s federal government and states are considering new COVID-19 measures to halt the rise in infections, such as dramatically reducing the number of people at household gatherings and compulsory mask wearing for school students.

A draft document of the measures, seen by Reuters, also said people would be urged to abstain from private parties completely until Christmas.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of Germany’s 16 states are expected to meet on Monday.

This month, Germany imposed a set of measures dubbed a “lockdown light” to rein in the second wave of the pandemic that the country is seeing along with much of the rest of Europe. While bars and restaurants are closed, schools and shops so far remain open.

As a result, numbers of new infections are no longer growing exponentially, but a decrease of infection numbers is not yet foreseeable, the document said.

“Further efforts are needed (...) We have four difficult winter months ahead of us before hopefully seasonal effects and the start of vaccinations will allow us to gradually overcome the pandemic”, the document said.

According to the proposals, which could still change pending the discussion between the federal and regional governments, private gatherings in public will only be possible between people from one household and two people from another household, compared to a maximum of 10 people from two households now.

About 520,000 COVID-19 cases have been detected in Germany from the start of the pandemic to the end of October. But numbers spiked by 50 per cent to 780,000 cases in the first two weeks of November.

In the same period, the number of COVID-19-intensive care patients in German hospitals increased by 70 per cent, leading to regional bottlenecks.

Over the weekend, a slew of German policy makers warned against easing of current measures and warned of tough times ahead.

With additional reporting by Reuters

Published 16 November 2020 at 6:57pm, updated 16 November 2020 at 7:05pm
By Gavin Fernando