PRIME Minister, Boris Johnson announced today that more than 400,000 people have come forward to join the NHS “volunteer army”.

A Government appeal launched last night had hoped to get 250,000 over a few days.

During a conference this afternoon, Johnson reported that in just 24 hours 405,000 people responded to the call.

Volunteers will be driving medicines from pharmacies to patients and bringing patients home from hospital.

They will also be making regular phone calls to check on and support people who are staying on their own at home.

The scheme aims to relieve pressure on the NHS

Mr Johnson said he wanted to offer "special thank you to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS".

He added: "And to all of you, and all the former NHS staff who are coming back into the service, I say thank you on behalf of the entire country."

The Prime Minister confirmed that the government may introduce wartime-style legislation to outlaw profiteering during the pandemic.

Commenting on the problem, he said: "I dislike it very much and I do not want to see people profiteering, exploiting people’s need at a critical time, in a national emergency.

"We are indeed looking very carefully at what is going on.

"The Competition and Markets Authority already has various powers that it may use but are looking at the legislative framework to see what it may be necessary to do to prevent profiteering just as happened in wartime many years ago."

Johnson also reported that Chancellor, Rishi Sunak would be announcing measures to help self-employed people survive the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths from coronavirus in the UK has risen to 437 after further fatalities were confirmed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The total number of UK cases stands at 8,077.

The Ministry of Justice has also reported that 19 prisoners across 10 jails have been diagnosed with the virus.

Four prison staff across four jails and three prisoner escort and custody services staff have also received positive results.