| 6.9°C Belfast

Covid-19: A quarter of a million people in the UK urged to become volunteers

The Government is facing criticism over who is allowed to go to work and who should stay at home.

Close

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives a briefing at Downing Street (PA)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives a briefing at Downing Street (PA)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock gives a briefing at Downing Street (PA)

Some 250,000 volunteers in good health are being recruited by the Government to help vulnerable people – while the ExCeL centre in London will be converted into a new NHS hospital, Matt Hancock has announced.

The Health Secretary said a quarter of a million people are needed to assist with the national effort to tackle coronavirus, help the NHS and support the vulnerable.

He said more than 35,000 extra NHS staff have already joined up to help fight against the virus, including retired doctors and nurses returning to the service and final year students.

Mr Hancock also confirmed that a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale hospital – would be opening at London’s ExCeL centre.

It comes after the Government faced criticism over its policy on workers, with pictures of packed London Tube trains appearing on social media on Tuesday.

Coronavirus
The London ExCel centre is to be turned into a makeshift NHS hospital (Ian West/PA)

In measures announced on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to only go to work if “absolutely necessary”.

But on Tuesday, Mr Hancock said those who cannot work from home, including key workers in the NHS and social care, should go to work “to keep the country running”.

PA