Boris Johnson says coronavirus crisis has proved 'there really is such a thing as society' in second update from self-isolation

Imogen Braddick

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus crisis has proved "there really is such a thing as society" as he revealed 20,000 NHS staff will be returning to the frontline.

Mr Johnson announced on Friday he had tested positive for Covid-19 and would be self-isolating and working from an office in Downing Street. ​Health Secretary Matt Hancock also tested positive on Friday and England's Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said he was self-isolating at home after developing symptoms.

In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday - the second he has posted from his time in self-isolation - the Prime Minister said he wanted to update his followers on the latest steps the Government is taking to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the response to a request for NHS volunteers had been "amazing", adding: "We are going to do it together."

He said: "We have 20,000 NHS staff coming's the most amazing thing, and that's of course in addition to the 750,000 members of the public who have volunteered to help us get through this crisis.

"We are going to do it. We are going to do it together. One thing I think the coronavirus crisis has already proved is there really is such a thing as society."

Margaret Thatcher famously once said: "They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there's no such thing as society."

Mr Johnson also said Government policy to stay at home remains unchanged, in order to delay the spread of the virus and reduce the pressure on the NHS at the "critical peak moment".

He said: "I want to thank everybody who has been complying with our instructions to stay at home. We have already seen massive falls in railway usage, I think down about 95 per cent, bus usage down about 75 per cent - people really trying to work from home if they possibly can. And that's what we want. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

"Again, I want to thank everybody in the NHS, I want to thank all our public sector workers."

Mr Johnson took the opportunity to also thank workers in the private sector, including supermarket staff and businesses "who help to keep our country going".

He also thanked pharmacists for their vital work looking after members of the public during the pandemic.

"I think how important it is that our pharmacists are not only dispensing vital medicines but also very often reassurance to the customers they interact with, so thank you to our wonderful pharmacists for everything that you are doing," he said.

"And thank you, by the way, to everyone who is now coming back into the NHS in such huge numbers."