More than 400,000 people in Britain have answered a call to carry out unpaid work to help their country’s universal health-care service cope with an unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The volunteering scheme was only announced by the British government’s health secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday afternoon—then it was inundated with three people per second asking to take part. Hancock asked for 250,000 healthy volunteers to help the National Health Service by delivering vital supplies such as food and medicines to vulnerable people, driving them home after they leave hospital, and making calls to people in self-isolation. NHS England’s national medical director, Stephen Powis, said he was “bowled over” by the “astonishing” response, according to The Guardian. “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.” As of late Wednesday in Britain, the number of volunteers was up to 405,000 and climbing.
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