March 24, 2020 / 5:03 PM / in 10 days

UPDATE 1-Britain seeking 250,000 volunteers to help health service

(Adds detail, tasks and Hancock quote)

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - Britain is looking for 250,000 volunteers to help the National Health Service (NHS) and vulnerable people hit by the coronavirus crisis, health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.

“We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health, to help the NHS, for shopping, for delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielded to protect their own health,” Hancock told reporters.

The volunteers will be asked to help with tasks like delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to and from hospital appointments and phoning people isolating at home to check up on them.

The system aims to reach up to 1.5 million people who are “shielding” - keeping themselves at home for 12 weeks under government advice to protect those with serious health conditions.

“If you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today to help the most vulnerable people in our communities as an NHS Volunteer Responder,” Hancock said later in a statement. (Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

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