Queen Elizabeth delivers rare address to nation amid coronavirus pandemic

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II addressed the nation Sunday in a rare televised speech and called for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” the Queen said. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.”

Speaking in a pre-recorded video shot at Windsor Castle, the Queen also thanked frontline staff at the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, carers and others carrying out essential roles.

“The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children,” she said.

The monarch said this “challenging” time reminded her of addressing the nation in World War II.

“It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety,” the Queen said, adding “today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones.”

The Queen concluded by again calling for unity saying, “we will succeed.”

“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us,” the Queen said.

The Queen rarely makes national addresses, typically speaking to the country only at Christmastime and when a new Parliament is installed.

Her address comes as UK authorities issue warnings to people to stay at home over the weekend, as the country emerges from winter and the weather gets warmer. Sunday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people in the UK not to sunbathe. Crowds have filled parks in central London as shops and other attractions across the country have closed.

Britain has reported more than 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths, the fourth-highest recorded in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country is carrying out social distancing measures, closing schools and nurseries to most children, and all non-essential businesses.

After initially deciding not to carry out widespread testing, the UK government has reversed its policy and aims to test 100,000 people a day.

The decision appeared to have been made as 8% of NHS staff were unable to work because of illness or to take periods of self-isolation.

The decision also comes as evidence grows that people can carry the virus but show no symptoms.

Hancock said Friday the deadliest peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the United Kingdom could hit on Easter Sunday.

A leading UK epidemiologist, Neil Ferguson, told the BBC on Saturday that social distancing rules could be relaxed in weeks if there are signs the coronavirus spread is slowing, but he also hinted that special measures could be needed until the end of May.

Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the throne, tested positive for Covid-19 recently and underwent a period of self-isolation. Friday, the Prince of Wales opened the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital at a London convention center via videolink, saying that he considered himself “lucky” to have experienced only mild symptoms.

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