Boris Johnson has praised the 405,000 people who have signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme, which was launched yesterday.
Speaking at today's daily briefing, the Prime Minster said the government had been hoping for around 250,000 volunteers when the scheme went live but have been overwhelmed by the response.
He also praised the millions of hardworking NHS staff who are currently dealing with the pandemic in the UK.
The National Medical Director of the NHS, Stephen Powis, said that he was 'bowled over' by the hugely heartening response from selfless members of the public.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the volunteers would be needed to pitch in with 'shopping and delivery of medicines' and 'to support those who are shielded to protect their own health'.
He added: "The NHS Volunteer Responders is a new scheme set up so that people can come and help and to make sure that the NHS and local services that are needed get all the support they can."
Announcing the appeal on the NHS website - in an article called 'Your NHS Needs You' - Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS Director of Primary Care, said: "Coronavirus is the biggest challenge we have ever faced, which is why we're rallying the troops and telling the public: your NHS needs you.
"Across the country people are playing their part in the fight against the virus by staying home for the next 12 weeks, to protect themselves, others and the NHS.
"But many of those shielding will need our support to do that, and by signing up to be an NHS Volunteer Responder, people who are well can do their bit too.
"This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments where a single action from one person can be the difference between life and death for another, and simple acts of kindness are going to make all the difference in keeping some of the most vulnerable people well and out of hospital.
"NHS staff are pulling out all the stops to ensure those who need care receive it, and creating a bank of helpers that they can call upon to support their most vulnerable patients through this difficult time is going to be invaluable, so I would urge anyone who can to sign up as an NHS Volunteer Responder today."
You can find out more about the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme, or sign up, here.
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