UK landmarks light up in blue to salute NHS staff battling coronavirus

Kit Heren

Landmarks across the UK turned blue on Thursday night to show public support for NHS staff helping treat coronavirus patients.

Famous venues and attractions like the London Eye, the Royal Albert Hall, the Shard and Wembley Stadium in the capital, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Lincoln Cathedral were illuminated in the colour of the NHS to salute the efforts of healthcare workers in the fight against the virus.

The campaign was organised by Gary White and Chuck Crampton on behalf of the entertainment industry.

They said in a statement: “The events and entertainment industry finds itself in an unprecedented state of enforced inaction.

Wembley Stadium (PA)

“The best thing we can do – apart from staying at home – is to use our skills and networks to say thank you to everyone who is supporting the NHS and risking their own health to help others during this pandemic.”

It came as people throughout the country joined in a mass round of applause at 8pm on Thursday to thank NHS staff for their work.

The Blackpool Tower (AFP via Getty Images)

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - the children of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge - were seen joining in the applause in a video released by Kensington Royal, the palace where the family lives.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak also joined in the applause.

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted a tweet praising the initiative and describing NHS staff as "the best of us".

The Lowry hotel in Manchester (The Lowry/PA Wire)

Despite the best efforts of NHS staff, there are concerns that the the health service is already stretched.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that London hospitals were facing a "continuous tsunami" as demand for critical care continues to rise from coronavirus patients.

And chief medical officer Chris Whitty told reporters on Wednesday that he thought the NHS would be "tested" by the surge in patients suffering from coronavirus.

St Georges Hall and St John's Beacon in Liverpool (AFP via Getty Images)

Last week Northwick Park hospital in north London said it was in a critical situation, with no more capacity for patients needing intensive care treatment.

The incident passed after 24 hours, but a spokesman for the NHS trust the hospital belongs to told the Standard that the situation was fluid and subject to change.

The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (REUTERS)

The Government has ordered 8,000 ventilators to be produced to help the NHS fight the virus, which should be ready in a few weeks.

And manufacturer Dyson said it has created a new ventilator design in just ten days, with 5,000 to be given to the international effort to tackle the virus.

The company is now waiting for regulatory approval before it can begin making the new ventilators.

But the Government was accused on Thursday of putting "Brexit before breathing", as it was revealed that the UK had refused to join with the EU to buy ventilators in bulk to reduce costs.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said: "We can't put Brexit over breathing; lives must come first."