The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to the "utter, selfless devotion to duty" of NHS staff, volunteers and new "emergency service" of supermarket workers, as he speaks of the "strange, frustrating and often distressing" experience of self-isolation.

Prince Charles, who has had a mild case of coronavirus himself, said those on the front line fighting to save the nation from Covid-19 must be treated with "special consideration" when it came to their shopping, to help them through a "profoundly challenging" situation.

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In a video message, he spoke of his gratitude to the "truly wonderful neighbours, individuals and groups of volunteers who are providing ceaseless care and attention to those most at risk" in support of the "hard-pressed professional services".

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"At a time when doctors, nurses and all the vital ancillary staff that form the backbone of our remarkable NHS are increasingly under such enormous strain, and risk, as they battle heroically to save lives in intensive care centres and to contain, as much as possible, the spread of this virus, our thoughts and prayers are very much with those marvellous people whose extraordinary skills and utter, selfless devotion to duty and the care of their patients make us so very proud," he said.

And in a rallying cry to the nation, he said that current situation "must end" at some point, urging the public to "look forward to better times to come".

"Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus – luckily with relatively mild symptoms – I now find myself on the other side of the illness, but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation," he said.

"As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed.

"At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife and I are thinking particularly of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances, and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness.

"As Patron of Age UK, and my wife the Patron of SilverLine, our hearts go out to all those older people throughout this country who are now experiencing great difficulty.

Prince Charles with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative for the virus and remained in isolation in the same house as Charles. Photo / AP
Prince Charles with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative for the virus and remained in isolation in the same house as Charles. Photo / AP

"However, we also know that in every community up and down this land – where people of all ages are being affected by this virus – there are truly wonderful neighbours, individuals and groups of volunteers who are providing ceaseless care and attention to those most at risk and that all this network of selfless assistance is, in itself, helping to provide vital support and reassurance to the hard-pressed professional services.

"And at a time when doctors, nurses and all the vital ancillary staff that form the backbone of our remarkable NHS are increasingly under such enormous strain, and risk, as they battle heroically to save lives in intensive care centres and to contain, as much as possible, the spread of this virus, our thoughts and prayers are very much with those marvellous people whose extraordinary skills and utter, selfless devotion to duty and the care of their patients make us so very proud.

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"Indeed, it has been so wonderful to see just how many across the UK have signed up in their hundreds of thousands to be NHS volunteers, offering their help to do whatever they can to provide support to those on the front line.

"It is clearly essential, therefore, that such key people are treated with special consideration when coming off their exhausting duties and trying to do their shopping, for instance, while having to contend with constant anxiety about their own families and friends.

"In this regard, we also think of all those many shop workers who are toiling as hard as they can throughout each and every night to keep supermarket shelves stocked – a further 'emergency service' on which we are all relying.

"As a nation, we are faced by a profoundly challenging situation, which we are only too aware threatens the livelihoods, businesses and welfare of millions of our fellow citizens.

"None of us can say when this will end, but end it will. Until it does, let us all try and live with hope and, with faith in ourselves and each other, look forward to better times to come."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

The message was recorded for Age UK on Tuesday morning with the help of staff at Birkhall, the Prince's home in Scotland.

Prince Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus himself last Monday, after suffering mild symptoms over the weekend.

Camilla and Prince Charles aboard a new electric double decker bus on their way to the London Transport Museum celebrating 20 years of Transport for London on March 4, 2020. Photo / AP
Camilla and Prince Charles aboard a new electric double decker bus on their way to the London Transport Museum celebrating 20 years of Transport for London on March 4, 2020. Photo / AP

His doctor advised him to be tested, with Clarence House emphasising that he qualified under the NHS due to his age and medical history.

The Prince was not bedridden with the virus and continued to work, making phonecalls from his desk at Birkhall. He is now out of self-isolation.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who tested negative, remains in isolation in the same house until the end of this week, as per government guidance.