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Almost half a million volunteers respond to help NHS

26 March 2020

A government appeal for members of the public to assist the NHS has resulted in 405,000 volunteers in just 24 hours.

Initial expectations of 250,000 over a few days were exceeded and numbers continue to rise.

The announcement was made during Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's daily COVID-19 update. He was joined by chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty and the chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The PM reiterated how, from the beginning of this crisis he has followed the advice of world-leading scientists in order to defeat Coronavirus.

He reiterated the importance of members of the public remaining at home: "What everyone needs to recognise is that our NHS – like any world-class health service – has only limited numbers of doctors, nurses and specialist equipment. So, the more people who become sick at any one time, the harder it is for the NHS to cope.And so it is vital to delay the spread of the disease and reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time.

"That is why we have given the clear instruction that people must stay at home – unless they have one of the reasons we have set out. And, with your help we will slow the spread of the disease."

The PM thanked everyone in the NHS, the public services, teachers, school staff, transport workers and police officers.

He added: "But I also want to offer a special thank you to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS.

"When we launched the appeal last night we hoped to get 250,000 over a few days. But I can tell you that in just 24 hours 405,000 people have responded to the call. They will be driving medicines from pharmacies to patients. They will be bringing patients home from hospital.

"Very importantly they’ll be making regular phone calls to check on and support people who are staying on their own at home. And they will be absolutely crucial in the fight against this virus."

The total number of volunteers in one day, equals the population of Coventry.