Boris Johnson will join millions of Brits to clap and cheer our NHS heroes on service's 72nd birthday

BORIS Johnson will today join millions of Brits to clap and cheer our NHS heroes on the health service’s 72nd birthday.

The PM will invite the public to pay tribute to frontline workers and volunteers with a live broadcast at 5pm to commemorate their work fighting the coronavirus crisis.

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A Spitfire with the message "Thank U NHS" painted on its underside will also fly over several NHS hospitals in the east of the country, finishing over Cambridge.

It comes after the hugely successful #ClapforCarers iniative which lasted for 10 weeks following lockdown with millions across the country taking part.

More than 100,000 hospital inpatients have been treated for Covid-19 in the UK, including Mr Johnson, along with many more who suffered with the virus at home.

Members of the armed forces constructed eight NHS Nightingale hospitals within weeks, which are all now being held on standby.

CLAP FOR HEROES

The Government's latest figures showed that 44,131 people have died after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Thursday, and a candlelit vigil was also held on Saturday night to remember them.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said hospital workers have only been able to pull the country through the pandemic thanks to a "national mobilisation" of all key workers, from care assistants and supermarket shelf-stackers to transport workers.

He said: "I think for NHS there will be a sense of relief, having coming through this huge first spike of coronavirus patients, but also people have been working incredibly hard.

"So there's a need to take a moment to reflect and recharge the batteries while at the same time doing all the other brilliant things that the health service does.

"This is a huge national effort and the NHS is hugely grateful for all the support it has received from all of the rest of the country."

SECOND SPIKE

Sir Simon warned the NHS could have another "enormous job on our hands" if a second virus spike sweeps the UK at the same time as seasonal flu, and urged people to continue observing social distancing.

He said: "Going into autumn and winter, we are going to have to continue to be vigilant about the possible resurgence of coronavirus.

"Until such time as there is a vaccine, we know that it will be lurking across the world."

Annemarie Plas, who founded the #ClapforCarers initiative,said she thinks the NHS anniversary clap on Sunday will be a "beautiful moment".

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: "We have had this first part of the crisis, we don't know what lies ahead, so if we can have this one moment where we say thank you to each other and recharge our batteries for what may be a heavier time that lies ahead, then I think that is a beautiful moment."

Ms Plas said she felt "very honoured" to be joining the Prime Minister for the "very special moment" outside Number 10 at 5pm.

She added: "I came here as a new mum in a new country and they (the NHS) really went beyond to track me down, to show me around, and really helped me, and that was really touching because we don't have anything like that in the Netherlands.

"So I feel very happy to be in touch with the NHS this way."

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