The UK population is being urged to applaud NHS staff on Thursday evening in a mass display of support and solidarity for frontline medical workers tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers of Clap for Our Carers are asking the public to show their appreciation for the doctors, nurses, GPs, emergency workers and pharmacists involved in helping care for those affected by Covid-19 and other sick patients “during these unprecedented times”.

People have been encouraged to clap from their front doors, gardens, balconies or windows at 8pm on Thursday 26 March, while maintaining a safe distance from neighbours.

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The message has already been widely shared on social media, with hundreds of thousands expected to take part across the UK.

“During these unprecedented times they need to know that we are grateful,” organisers of the event have said.

“Please join us on 26 March for a big applause to show all who are working at the front line our appreciation for their ongoing hard work and fight against this virus.

“Please share this message so we can make sure the work spreads and reaches all to join.”

Those who take part have also been encouraged to live stream or film the event and upload the footage to social media with the caption #clapforourcarers.

NHS staff have already been showered with praise amid the escalating pandemic.

In one Tesco store in Swansea, supermarket workers lined up at the entrance to applause nurses and doctors as they walked through the doors.

Other stores in Truro, Newton and Shrewsbury have given out bouquets of flowers to NHS staff.

And after widespread panic buying cleared shelves of essential food and items, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco have since enforced a dedicated shopping hour for key medical workers, along with the elderly and vulnerable.

An initiative called Help NHS Heroes, which aims to establish pop-up shops at every hospital across the UK, has also been launched in an effort to ensure staff have access to food supplies and household essentials. The scheme will start at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage on Tuesday.

People from across the world have already come out in their millions to show their support for healthcare workers fighting the outbreak of Covid-19.

Whole neighbourhoods in countries such as Spain, China and India have been filmed clapping or singing in unison, with the footage going viral on social media.

On Sunday, the Indian public took to their balconies, rooftops and front steps to make noise in a show of support for medical workers and the emergency services.

With pots and pans, metal plates and shankha (horn-like conches used in Hindu prayer) to hand, families who had been observing a nationwide all-day curfew embraced the opportunity to take part in the five-minute ovation.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister, had called on the population to take part in the event to “boost morale” of doctors and public workers and “salute their service”.

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