The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have recorded a video message of thanks as Australia celebrates its inaugural Thank a First Responder Day on Tuesday. In a video to mark the occasion, William and Catherine have given their heartfelt thanks to the multitude of workers who have not only braved the country’s recent wildfires but are now serving their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the video message Prince William is heard to say, “Earlier this year, we witnessed thousands of firefighters, supported by the wider first responder community, as they worked tirelessly, risking their own lives, to protect Australian communities from the devastating wildfires. The world was watching your efforts, and we were deeply moved by what we saw.”

The 2019-20 Australian wildfires began in September 2019 and heavily impacted various regions in the state of New South Wales. Fires were later declared in the Greater Sydney region as well as in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. It was estimated on 9th March 2020, the fires had burnt an estimated 18.6 million hectares.

The Duchess of Cambridge then said, “Sadly, you are now on the frontline of yet another emergency. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought first responders across Australia together again. Day in, day out, paramedics, police, firefighters and support staff work tirelessly to keep everybody safe, often risking not only their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing.”

COVID-19 was first confirmed in Australia in late January 2020 and since then there have been a total of 7221 cases of the disease with only 102 deaths. Australia and New Zealand have been praised globally for their handling of the disease and the quick way both countries locked down ensuring that the spread of the virus was halted quicker than other countries.

The Duke of Cambridge concluded the video message by saying, “You should be immensely proud of everything you do, and we send our best wishes to you all and your families.”

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