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Airbnb offers NHS workers free accommodation amid coronavirus outbreak

Airbnb aims to house over 100,000 COVID-19 workers worldwide

Nichola Murphy

Following the lead of France and Italy, Airbnb hosts across the world can now offer their homes to NHS workers and healthcare professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak. Caregivers, relief workers and first responders have been working around the clock over the past few weeks, and the company has found a way to help show their appreciation for those giving up their time and risking their own health for the sake of others. Airbnb has announced it is offering free accommodation to those who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response and in need of a place to stay. 

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WATCH: Royals and celebrities clap for our NHS

Using the Open Homes platform - which is traditionally used to provide temporary housing for disaster relief or medical treatments - homeowners can opt into the programme and offer an entire property, with Airbnb waiving all fees for the stays. The program, which has already been introduced in Italy and France, aims to house over 100,000 COVID-19 healthcare professionals worldwide, and UK hosts have already offered nearly 1,500 places to stay.

READ: NHS staff in London are gifted electric bikes for free

"The entire country is behind our heroic NHS and medical staff as they battle the coronavirus outbreak," said Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy at Airbnb. "By working together, we can ensure that frontline workers can find a free and convenient place to stay as they continue their critical work. We thank our doctors and nurses across the country from the bottom of our hearts and are grateful to hosts who have already opened their homes during these difficult times."

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A room at Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs' Hotel Exchange in Manchester

This is the latest way the UK has been showing its support for NHS workers. Former Manchester United team-mates Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs recently announced they planned to close the two Manchester hotels they co-own so that the nearby NHS staff can have free access to the rooms. Meanwhile, last week saw people around the country standing outside their houses or opening their windows to collectively applaud those fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

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