Royal family and PM join UK in mass round of applause for health workers

Thousands stand outside UK homes to join in mass clapping to support frontline workers

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak outside 10 Downing Street during the Clap For Our Carers campaign in support of the NHS, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain, March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Royal family joined the nation in saluting the UK's healthcare workers battling the coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of people stood in their gardens and balconies while in lockdown on Wednesday night to loudly clap and show their support for those working tirelessly in the nation's hospitals.

The UK death toll rose to 578 with more than 100 fatalities overnight.

"On behalf of the whole country, I want to thank all the incredible nurses, doctors, NHS support staff and carers who are working flat out to fight coronavirus," Mr Johnson tweeted.

"To help them and protect the NHS, we need everyone to stay at home #StayHomeSaveLives"

There are now 11,658 Covid-19 cases in Britain, up from 9,529 on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak stood outside Downing Street clapping. Earlier, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton tweeted a video of their children clapping.

"To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by Covid-19: thank you," the tweet from Kensington Palace read.

It was announced on Wednesday that William's father, Prince Charles, had coronavirus diagnosed.

The mass cheer, called Clap for Carers, was started online to show the nation's appreciation for the NHS during "these unprecedented times".

A number of landmarks, including the Royal Albert Hall, the Wembley Arch and Lincoln Cathedral, were lit up.