ITV paused its programming on Thursday at 8pm to Clap for our Carers, as the nation once again gave a round of applause for key workers, particularly NHS staff on the frontline treating patients with coronavirus.

The broadcaster switched off the channel as it encouraged members of the public to stand on their doorsteps and balconies - while keeping a safe distance apart - and applaud our key health care workers.

As normal programming came off air and the UK showed its support, sequences displaying messages encouraging viewers to donate to NHS Charities Together Covid-19 fundraiser were shown on TV screens.

The money will:

  • Fund well-being packages for NHS staff and volunteers

  • Fund cost of travel, parking, accommodation for NHS staff, volunteers and carers and their incurred expenses

  • Other items as requested by NHS Charities that enhance the well-being of NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients

  • Provide support to carers in the voluntary and social health care network who are helping get people out of hospital and on the road to recover

ITV News also live-streamed the round of applause across the country on our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.

Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive at ITV, said: "ITV is joining the rest of the country in thanking everyone in the NHS and carers who are doing such a vital and fantastic role - so we will pause our programming at 8pm to applaud the heroes within the NHS for the remarkable efforts they are making, and raise as much money for NHS charities as we can thanks to our viewers’ generosity."

Britons will once again clap from their doorsteps, windows and balconies for the NHS and key workers. Credit: PA

Annemarie Plas, the creator of the #ClapforourCarers movement in the UK, said: "I am really delighted that ITV is backing the initiative to clap for all who there are out there taking care of us, and helping keep that Thursday 8pm moment alive".

It comes as just a week ago, people took to their balconies and doorsteps to clap and cheer, while vehicles sounded their horns as a gesture of thanks to frontline healthcare heroes.

At the same time, landmarks including Belfast City Hall, Principality Stadium in Cardiff and the London Eye were lit up as part of the #lightitblue salute.

The public, as well as members of the Royal Family, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other big names, came out in support of the NHS by clapping and cheering from their homes while social distancing.

Prince Charles, 71, who had coronavirus at the time, was pictured clapping at Birkhall, his private home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Meanwhile the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posted a video of their three children - George, Charlotte and Louis - clapping.

The national gesture happened on Thursday evening as officials confirmed that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in UK has risen by 569, bringing the total death toll in the country to 2,921.

NHS Charities Together Chief Executive Ellie Orton said: "Joining the wonderful wave of support for the NHS to say a massive thank you together with Clap for our Carers is already making such a difference and today, and because of the brilliant British people, we have already raised nearly £17 million for our Covid-19 Urgent Appeal."

She added: "Now with ITV’s generosity to give free air time to remind everyone of the opportunity to express their love and thanks and to also give back, we are even more grateful so thank you."

To donate to NHS Charities Together Covid-19 campaign click here.

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