700,000 people sign up to the NHS coronavirus volunteer army
Some 170,000 people signed up overnight on Tuesday, and by Friday evening, more than 700,000 people had answered the call for volunteers to help the national effort to fight the Covid-19 virus.
More than 700,000 people have signed up to volunteer for the NHS in response to the coronavirus crisis. They have pledged to be available to help vulnerable people who have been instructed not to leave their homes during the Covid-19 outbreak.
700,000 people sign up to the NHS coronavirus volunteer army.
The call to action came on Tuesday from health secretary Matt Hancock, who requested for 250,000 people to donate their time to help the 1.5 million people isolating for 12 weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In the hours after his announcement, it amounted to three people enlisting every second.
NHS England’s national medical director, Stephen Powis, said he was “bowled over” by the response. “Yesterday we sent out a call to arms for an army of NHS volunteers, looking for a quarter of a million volunteers, and I can say that overnight we’ve already had 170,000 people sign up. It’s an absolutely astonishing response.” he told BBC Breakfast.
The total had grown to 405,000 by the time prime minister Boris Johnson answered questions from the media during the daily coronavirus press conference on Wednesday afternoon, and 504,303 by Thursday morning. On Friday evening Downing Street confirmed that more than 700,000 people had signed up, according to Sky News.
Asked if he had expected such support, Powis answered, “I think at times of crisis, people come together. And the vast majority of people in this country are doing what the government has asked us all to do.”
He continued, “I know there are vast numbers of people looking to help neighbours, vulnerable people who live close by, so no it doesn’t surprise me at all. In times like this, as the chief medical officer has already said, we see outbreaks of altruism, people wanting to help, so it’s a wonderful response in the same way that all those doctors coming back, nurses coming back. I’m bowled over by it.”
This article was published on Wednesday 25 March and amended on the morning of Thursday 26 March, and the evening of Friday 27 March, to reflect further increases in volunteer sign-ups.
Article by Sally White
Ablyss Co Founder