Published On: Thu, Apr 2nd, 2020

Boris Johnson seen outside for first time since coronavirus diagnosis as PM claps for NHS | UK | News


Prime Minister Boris Johnson emerged from self-isolation to join people around the UK applauding key workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the second time the nationwide salute has taken place, as people stood on their doorsteps to applaud those working to stem the outbreak of COVID-19. It comes as a total of 2,921 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, the Department of Health said, up by 569 from 2,352 the day before.

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Mr Johnson appeared briefly on the steps of Number 10 to join in, the first time he has been seen in person since announcing he had been diagnosed with Covid-19 last week.

He told those gathered outside: “I am not allowed out really, I am just standing here.”

For the second Thursday in a row, people across the United Kingdom banged on pots and pans, shouted, clapped and set off firecrackers to show their support for health and care professionals seen as the superheroes of the hour.

In some London streets, children banged on xylophones and shook maracas to say thank you, while fireworks could be seen and heard on the skyline.

READ MORE: Clap for our carers: How long does the clap last?

With the beloved but overstretched NHS facing its toughest challenge since it was founded after World War Two, the applause provided a moment of unity and emotional release in the midst of anxiety and isolation.

Mirroring similar initiatives in other countries from Italy to India, the event was widely promoted on social media networks under the tag ClapForCarers and looks likely to become a weekly ritual for as long as the lockdown lasts.

The NHS, which provides free healthcare to everyone living in the United Kingdom, inspires a passion and loyalty in Britons that has been compared to a religion, but the chronically short-staffed service is also a perennial subject of concern.

Tapping into the public’s attachment to the service, the government has made the slogan “Protect The NHS” central to its messaging aimed at persuading people to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus.

“And we will strain every sinew to defeat it once and for all.

“And I will stop at nothing to make sure that frontline staff have the right equipment so that they are safe and can have the confidence they need to do their jobs.”

Mr Hancock said the UK lacked a large diagnostics industry so was having to build from a “lower base” than the likes of Germany, which is testing at greater levels for coronavirus.

He said a country-wide shortage of swabs had been “resolved” but that there remained a “global challenge” around sourcing the reagent chemicals needed for the tests.



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