Some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to help in the fight against coronavirus, Boris Johnson announced.
The PM – who is currently self-isolating after contracting the deadly bug – praised the significance of society in his video message.
It comes as the UK coronavirus death toll rose by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as infections jumped by 2,483 to 19,522.
Some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to help in the fight against coronavirus, Boris Johnson announced in a video message
Mr Johnson contradicted the ‘there is no such thing as society’ endorsement of pure individualism from his Conservative predecessor Margaret Thatcher.
He said: ‘We are going to do it, we are going to do it together. One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is that there really is such a thing as society.’
The PM thanked the doctors, nurses and other former professionals for returning to duty, as well as the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to aid the health service.
Mr Johnson has continued to command the response to the coronavirus pandemic while sealed behind closed doors in his flat above No. 11 Downing Street.
Some 20,000 former NHS staff have returned to help in the fight against coronavirus, Boris Johnson announced. Pictured: Medical staff with a patient at the back of an ambulance outside St Thomas’s hospital
The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228. Pictured today: Ambulances at Guy’s at St Thomas’s Hospital in central London
In the video, Mr Johnson said the public appeared to be obeying the terms of the lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, saying train use is down 95 per cent and buses down 75 per cent.
‘Thank you to everybody who’s now coming back into the NHS in such huge numbers,’ he continued.
‘Just this evening I can tell you we have 20,000 NHS staff coming back to the colours.
Dr Jenny Harries told a Downing Street press conference that people should not be viewing the crisis as something that will blow over within weeks
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick took the briefing in Downing Street today with the PM in self-isolation
‘It’s a most amazing thing. And that’s in addition to the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to help us get through this crisis.’
On Thursday, NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said the figure of former professionals who had volunteered to come back stood at more than 15,000.
Mr Johnson’s message came after the nation was warned by deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries that normality may not resume for at least six months.
This does not mean a ‘complete lockdown’ will last the entire time, she stressed, but social distancing measures will be gradually eased as the crisis wanes and the pressure on the NHS eases.