Coronavirus: 405,000 volunteers step forward to help NHS through crisis

The Prime Minister has said that 405,000 people have volunteered to help the NHS during the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 5:33 pm
Boris Johnson. Photo by Ian Vogler-WPA Pool/Getty Images

In his daily address to the nation, Boris Johnson said the Government had hoped for 250,000 volunteers over a few days.

However, in just 24 hours, 405,000 – equivalent to the population of Coventry – have come forward to offer their services.

Mr Johnson said the volunteers will be driving medicines from pharmacies to patients, bringing recovered patients home from hospital and making regular phone calls to check on and support people who are staying on their own at home.

Speaking about the volunteers, he said: “They will be absolutely crucial in the fight against this virus.

“That is already, in one day, as many volunteers as the population of Coventry. And so, to all of you, and to all the former NHS staff who are coming back now into the service, I say thank you on behalf of the entire country.”

On Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said more than 35,000 people – former staff and final year students – will be added into the NHS in the coming weeks.

Also on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said it is ‘vital’ to delay the spread of coronavirus and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time as the NHS limited numbers of doctors, nurses and specialist equipment.

He added: “That’s why we’ve given the clear instruction that people must stay at home unless they have one of the reasons we’ve set out. With your help, we will slow the spread of the disease.

“I want to thank everyone who has been following the clear rules we set out on Monday and I want to thank everyone in the NHS – the frontline of the fight against coronavirus – and of course all of our public services – our teachers and our school staff, the transport workers, police officers, everyone who is keeping this country going.”