People applaud outside St. Thomas's Hospital in support of British National Health Service workers who are treating coronavirus victims, part of a nationwide salute to the doctors, nurses and staff of the NHS in London, Thursday, March 26, 2020. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has prompted a public display of appreciation for health service workers on the front line of the fight against the contagious virus. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
People in coronavirus lock-down all over Britain have taken part in an emotional show of solidarity with health workers, during the nation's worst crisis since World War Two.
Clapping, banging pots and pans, and cheering and waving, vast numbers of people took part in the "Clap for our Carers" initiative, which mirrors similar events in other countries.
Paramedic Kate and Emergency Ambulance Crew Sean captured this incredible and emotional moment while working in Kingston tonight.— London Ambulance Service #StayHomeSaveLives (@Ldn_Ambulance) March 26, 2020
You can hear the cheering and clapping from the cab of the ambulance! 💚#clapforourcarers #ClapForNHS #NHSheroes #TeamLAS pic.twitter.com/TZ6wjGafuw
Italians, who have been the hardest hit by the virus and have been under strict lockdown for much longer, began the trend by singing and playing music from their balconies and applauding their doctors and nurses. The phenomenon soon spread to Spain and France, and has now reached as far as India.
With the UK in day three of its own lockdown, "Clap for our Carers" exploded on social media on Thursday, and was encouraged by celebrities, politicians and even the royal family.
This is absolutely beautiful.— Dr. Jennifer Cassidy (@OxfordDiplomat) March 26, 2020
Beautiful act done for the people,
By the people of this country.
This is from London,
But I managed to open my window & clap loud
The first air in 12 days
But I can feel it,
only thanks to the NHS.#clapforourcarers pic.twitter.com/RdIYatQ2Aq
Standing with my colleagues from across the Dáil tonight to applaud the men and women of our health service and everyone else who is working in essential areas like. #clapforourcarers pic.twitter.com/9S7jaAjTs8— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 26, 2020
Television pictures showed people clapping in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, breaking the quiet brought about by severe restrictions on public life and an edict from the government to stay indoors to stop the virus spreading.
Landmarks across the capital lit up in blue in tribute to the National Health Service.
The royal family tweeted three 'clapping hands' emoji and the message: "We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services. We thank you all."
After Prime MInister Boris Johnson called for 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS cope with the coronavirus outbreak, more than double that number signed up within two days. By Thursday evening, the figure was over 670,000.
Britain has reported 578 deaths and more than 11,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with experts warning that the worst is yet to come and the government scrambling to buy equipment to keep its citizens alive.
As the health service becomes increasingly stretched by the number of cases, the government is opening a temporary hospital at an exhibition centre in east London and asking manufacturers to produce thousands of ventilators.
© RAW 2020