UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered a special thank you to the 405,000 people that have already responded to a call for volunteers to assist the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic.
During Downing Street’s daily Coronavirus Press Conference on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said ‘thank you on behalf of the entire country’, adding that the number of people to volunteer in the last 24 hours represents the size of the population of Coventry. It comes after the UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday that the government was seeking a quarter of a million NHS volunteers to help during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The PM also thanked everyone who has been following the new lockdown rules and thanked all health and public services staff and reminded the public of the key policy – ‘Stay At Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives’.
During the Press Conference, the antigen and antibody tests to see whether you have the virus were also discussed. Earlier on Wednesday, Professor Sharon Peacock, director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England said that millions of testing kits have been ordered and could be used by medical professionals and then the wider community ‘in the near future’ – and in days, rather than weeks or months. Professor Chris Witty said he did not think that the kits would be available to order online next week, as had been reported earlier in the day.
The Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty said that the government wants to test NHS and other critical workers who are self-isolating, in order to see if they can return to work. He did though highlight that there is a global shortage of kits and it was said that when kits are first rolled out they would be done so in a prioritised way to ensure certain groups of people, including healthcare staff are tested first. The PM said he believed the UK has done more COVID-19 testing than most other European countries so far.
The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to talk on Thursday about support measures for the self-employed amid the Coronavirus pandemic.