170,000 Brits Volunteer Overnight to Help the NHS in Coronvirus Fight

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Diamond Jubilee revelers wave the Union Jack flag in the Mall d
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Some 170,000 Britons volunteered overnight to help the National Health Service (NHS) after the government called for the creation of a “volunteer army” to combat the Chinese coronavirus.

The medical director of the NHS, Stephen Powis said that he was “bowled over” by the number of people signing up to help front-line medical staff.

“Overnight 170,000 people have signed up – that’s three a minute to help the NHS, it’s an absolutely astonishing response,” he told the BBC.

In addition to the 170,000 civilian volunteers, approximately 11,000 former medics and 24,000 final year medical students have joined the national effort.

The volunteer effort will be run by the Royal Voluntary Service and is being coordinated through the Good SAM app. Those who sign up will primarily be tasked with providing assistance to the estimate 1.5 million people who are considered to be at high risk and have been told by the government to self-isolate.

Catherine Johnstone, the chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service, compared the effort to that of the Second World War when a million women joined the organisation, which was then known as the Women’s Voluntary Service.

“In 2020 we find ourselves once again facing a daunting national challenge. We are proud to support the NHS at this important moment and we are certain many thousands of people will selflessly step up to play their part,” she said per The Times.

Volunteers will help deliver medicine to self-isolating patients, drive them to their hospital appointments, and phone them to check on their welfare.

The volunteer army will also be asked to help in the construction of a 4,000-bed temporary hospital in London.

The massive amount of volunteer applications came just one day after Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for 250,000 healthy Britons to volunteer to assist the NHS.

The NHS director of primary care, Nikki Kanani said that the coronavirus is the “the biggest challenge” the nations health service has ever faced, calling on the healthy to “do their bit” during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where a single action from one person can be the difference between life and death for another, and simple acts of kindness are going to make all the difference in keeping some of the most vulnerable people well,” she said.

On Monday, the UK recorded its deadliest day since the beginning of the outbreak, with 87 people losing their lives to the virus, bringing the death toll in the country to 422.

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