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24 March 2020, 17:07 | Updated: 24 March 2020, 17:42
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called on 'NHS volunteer responders'
The UK government has called for NHS volunteers to help the country amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Addressing the nation in a press conference today (24/3/20), Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that they are seeking people in 'good health' to volunteer for the National Health Service.
He said: "I know how worried people are and while this is a great time of turbulence, it is a moment too that the country can come together in that national effort.
"As the next step in that effort, today we launch NHS volunteers. We are seeking a quarter of million volunteers - people in good health - to help the NHS, for shopping, in delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded to protect their own health."
Mr Hancock added that it is a "new scheme set up so that people can come and help and make sure the NHS and local services needed can get all the support that they can."
The Prime Minister revealed that the police will now have the power to fine people if they leave their homes for any reason other than the following:
- Shopping for basic necessities
- One form of exercise a day - either alone or with members of your household
- Medical need or to provide care help vulnerable person
- Travel to work - but only if necessary and you cannot work from home
He said: "These are the only reasons you should be leaving your home.
In an unprecedented broadcast to the nation about the next stage in the battle against the virus, he said: "You should not be meeting friends, you should not be meeting family members who don't live in your home, you should not be shopping except for essentials.
"If you don't follow the rules, the police have power to enforce them including with fines. We will immediately close all shops selling non-essential goods, other premises including libraries and places of worship.
"We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public and stop all social events - excluding funerals".