London, UK, March 20, 2020 -- Prince William and Kate visited staff working incredibly hard to man the phones at an NHS 111 call centre in London yesterday.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic the royal pair thanked those answering calls at all hours, as the capital suffers the most in the crisis.
William urged Brits to stop all non essential contact and do their part to stem the spread of the killer bug in a message after the visit.
3,269 people are now infected with the virus in the UK, and 177 have died.
He praised NHS workers and those in 111 call centres, passing on thanks from The Queen and Prince Charles for their heroic efforts.
The Duke of Cambridge said: "The last few weeks, and more recent days, have been understandably concerning with the continuing spread of coronavirus.
"But it’s at times like this when we realise just how much the NHS represents the very best of our country and society – people from all backgrounds and walks of life with different experiences and skills, pulling together for the common good.
"Not only are NHS staff and emergency workers responding to the needs of the public, they – like the rest of us – are concerned about their families, friends and loved ones. They need our support as much as we need theirs.
"That is why Catherine and I were proud to visit staff working at NHS 111, to pass on our personal thanks, along with those of my grandmother and father, to staff working around the clock to provide care and advice to those that need it most.
"It was also brilliant to see the great online tools for those with mild symptoms or worries.
"All of us have a part to play if we’re going to protect the most vulnerable.
"That means acting on the latest expert advice, staying home if we or those we live with have symptoms, and avoiding non-essential contact to help reduce the spread of the virus."
It comes after the Queen and the PM yesterday urged the UK to unite and behave responsibly to beat coronavirus within 12 weeks.
In a passionate plea, Mr Johnson said the bug can be "sent packing" if the public follow the strict new rules.
This evening he told the nation the government would be telling pubs, cafes, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres and gyms to close from tonight.
Her Majesty said yesterday: "I am certain we are up to the challenge. Our history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one."
Her call came as the PM revealed scientific developments were on the horizon that could "turn the tide in the next 12 weeks".
Garrett Emmerson, CEO, London Ambulance Service said: "Our staff are working incredibly hard in all four of our call centres taking more than twice as many calls as usual.
"It has therefore been an incredible boost to staff to be able to meet with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
"Their Royal Highnesses spoke to some of our 111 call handlers and clinicians who are extraordinarily busy as we work hard to support Londoners and the wider NHS."
The London Ambulance Service takes NHS 111 calls through its control rooms in Croydon and Barking, which have currently been receiving at least five times the usual rate of calls.
"The London Ambulance Service also operates two 999 control rooms which have been receiving nearly 8,000 calls a day."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. NHS Direct provides confidential access to medical information, guidance and reassurance through a range of interactive services. These include an expert telephone advice line and detailed web resources.
Published: Monday, March 23, 2020
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