LONDON (Reuters) - Britons will applaud health workers and carers from their front doors and windows again on Thursday in what has become a weekly moment of social solidarity during the coronavirus lockdown.
At 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), people around the country will join in applauding the National Health Service, with clips from previous weeks shared on social media under the #ClapForCarers hashtag.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is expected to join in from Downing Street as Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to recuperate after contracting COVID-19.
Johnson was treated in intensive care after symptoms of the disease worsened. He was discharged from hospital on Sunday and is recovering at his country residence in Chequers.
The applause for health workers has become a weekly feature of life under lockdown in Britain, providing a moment of national unity and escapism from isolation and anxiety, at a time where social distancing measures have greatly reduced how much time people spend outside with others.
The public show of appreciation for the NHS has been matched with generosity, with amateur runners, footballers and even a 99-year-old war veteran among the people raising millions of pounds to support the health service.
Britain last month pledged 5 billion pounds to the health service to fight coronavirus and finance minister Rishi Sunak said extra services that were needed would be funded “whatever it costs.”
But the government has faced criticism for inadequate supplies of the right protective equipment for hospitals and slow roll-out of testing, including for health workers.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison