Contagion's Matt Damon and Kate Winslet issue warnings in coronavirus PSA

Contagion stars Matt Damon and Kate Winslet have issued warnings about the coronavirus pandemic, urging fans to follow instructions.

The movie, released in 2011, follows the spread of a hypothetical virus, with the film skyrocketing in popularity after people pointed out similarities between how the virus in the movie and coronavirus spread.

Now, Matt and Kate, along with co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Jennifer Ehle have offered us their own PSAs and stark warnings about the pandemic.

Matt explained why social distancing is important in his video, warning fans: ‘That was a movie, this is real life,’ while Kate thought back to everything the public health experts taught her while she was preparing for her role.

‘A few years ago a bunch of us did this movie called Contagion, which we’ve noticed is creeping its way back up the charts on iTunes for obvious reasons, given what we’re all living through right now,’ Matt explained in the video for the Mailman School Of Public Health at Columbia University.

‘I’m here to talk to you about social distancing, which we’ve been hearing about on TV.’

The actor went on to say: ‘In the movie, I played a guy who was immune to the hypothetical virus that was spreading around the world…that was a movie, this is real life. I have no reason to believe I am immune to Covid-19 and neither do you.’

He explained that, since it’s a new virus, it’ll take doctors and scientists some time to understand it.

‘New viruses emerge all the time, this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last so the good news is we have seen things like this before and we emerged stronger as a result and, in time, we’re going to win against this one as well,’ he continued, before urging people: ‘Watch TV and save a life at the same time.’

He concluded: ‘Other generations were asked to do extraordinary things, we’re being asked to just stay at home.’

In her video, Kate added: ‘In the movie Contagion, I played an epidemiologist trying to stop the spread of a hypothetical virus. To prepare for the role, I spent time with some of the best public health professionals in the world.

‘And what was one of the most important things they taught me? Wash your hands like your life depends on it.

‘Because right now, in particular, it just might. Or the life of someone you love, or even the life of someone you might not know, but is still deserving of your consideration.’

Giving people a demonstration of how to properly wash their hands, she added: ‘The health of our society is quite literally in your hands.’

Coronavirus UK lockdown: key points

The key points of Boris Johnson’s historic address are as follows:

  • Britain ordered into coronavirus lockdown except for shopping and exercise
  • The NHS will not be able to handle coronavirus if too many people become seriously unwell
  • Police will be able to issue fines to people not obeying lockdown measures
  • Shops, churches and playgrounds to close
  • Weddings and christenings banned
  • Gatherings of more than two now forbidden

Read Boris Johnson’s speech in full


Finishing up her video, Kate concluded: ‘I know this is hard, and it’s new and it’s scary, but you really can defend yourself and the people you love with a bar of soap, a sink and some water, and by listening to the public health experts where you live.’

The 2011 movie has been drawing people’s attention, due to the similarities with the current pandemic. In fact, there have been arguments that we should have taken the thriller a whole lot more seriously.

Amid the pandemic, which has seen the UK being put on lockdown, ITV sparked outrage by airing the movie.

Ofcom later confirmed to 160 people had lodged complaints, after the film was aired at 9pm on Thursday night.

Obviously people are keen for a break from the madness but turning on their tellies to see a film about a deadly pandemic probably wasn’t at the top of their entertainment list.

Coronavirus latest news and updates

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