The nation will fall silent on Tuesday to pay tribute to the key workers who have lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
The deaths of more than 90 frontline NHS workers have been confirmed by Sky News since 25 March, and those in other key sectors such as private social care and transport have also died.
Boris Johnson, who was struck down with coronavirus himself and spent time in intensive care, will join others across Britain observing the minute’s silence at 11am.
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The prime minister’s official spokesperson confirmed he would be supporting the tribute, adding: “We will be asking everybody who works in the government to take part and we would hope that others will take part nationwide as well.”
Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the country owes a “tremendous debt” to its NHS staff.
“This moment will bring together a sombre but grateful nation. Whether in nursing or driving buses, our heroes kept going to work when many had the luxury of staying at home,” she said.
“Nobody should go out to work and risk their life. This must not be the last time that sacrifice is recognised.”
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the tribute was the “least we could do”.
England’s top nurse and doctor also supported the silence, saying they hoped Britain would show its appreciation.
Chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said: “Every death is a tragedy but we feel the loss of fellow health and care workers particularly keenly.
“I want people across the NHS and the whole country to come together and remember health and care workers who have lost their lives to this cruel virus.”
NHS England chief Professor Stephen Powis said he hoped it would show key workers “how much their contribution is remembered and appreciated”.
The government has faced pressure to test more NHS workers for COVID-19, while some staff have complained they do not have adequate PPE.
On Monday, it said the families of health and care workers on the front line in England would receive a lump sum of £60,000 if their loved one dies with coronavirus.
Announcing the scheme, the government said it “recognises the increased risk faced by staff during the crisis”.