Clap for our Carers: UK erupts in applause for NHS workers handling coronavirus crisis

Jane Dalton
Residents in Saltburn By The Sea came out of their homes to show their appreciation: Getty

People across the UK have joined in a mass round of applause from their doorsteps to thank health workers working through the coronavirus crisis.

The co-ordinated national “Clap for our carers” event was planned to thank NHS staff for risking their own lives in treating those infected and tackling the outbreak.

Similar events have been held in Europe, with citizens in lockdown in France and Italy standing on their balconies to show their appreciation of healthcare workers.

Organisers asked people to applaud either outdoors or through open windows at 8pm to thank NHS staff, including doctors, nurses, GPs, pharmacists and emergency workers.

In fact, many went out into the street to join in.

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In Leytonstone, east London, people set off fireworks as the event turned into a partial celebration, and elsewhere in London people sounded horns and trumpets.

Firefighters in Birmingham, and residents from Glasgow to Sussex applauded.

London Ambulance Service said hearing the clapping was emotional, and the North West Ambulance Service said the event was “heartwarming”.

It came after 115 more people died in the UK in 24 hours – the first time the daily UK death toll had surpassed 100.

The Department of Health had encouraged people to take part, as had MPs, charities, celebrities, NHS trusts, British Transport Police, Classic FM and other organisations and businesses.

Nadine Dorries, the health minister who herself was infected with Covid-19, wrote on Twitter: “At no time when I trained as a nurse many years ago, did I ever think I would have to face what our nurses and all frontline staff are dealing with right now. Tonight, at 8pm I will be joining the nation in a hugely grateful round of applause. You are amazing.”

On Twitter, so many people planned to join in that #clapforNHS and #clapforourcarers were trending.

A wedding venue in Wales projected a lit message onto its façade, reading “Thank you, NHS”.

The government has committed a further £210m to an international bid to find a coronavirus vaccine.

But some sceptics said it was hypocritical for someone to clap for the NHS if they had voted Conservative, and others said the government should prioritise giving health staff personal protective equipment.

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