Just a few weeks ago, Prince William made an awkward joke about the novel coronavirus and asked it the media's response to it was "a little hyped up." Now, as the COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, the British royal has addressed the issue in a video message requesting the public to help raise funds to combat the spread of the virus.

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, shared an important video message about the COVID-19 and urged the public to donate to the National Emergencies Trust. It has launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities support anyone suffering hardship as a result of the closure of several companies in wake of the outbreak. The appeal launched on Wednesday in partnership with the British Red Cross has the support of media, business, and governmental organisations.

In the message shared on Kensington Palace's social media accounts, the 37-year-old praised Britain's "unique ability to pull together" and added that "the public's desire to help in the wake of tragedy needs to be managed and channelled in the best possible way."

The @NatEmergTrust has launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities support individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more 👇https://t.co/aWvQCNUvdD pic.twitter.com/YaftXRtiWW

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 18, 2020

"Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the UK have a unique ability to pull together. The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature," William said.

The father-of-three said that when The National Emergencies Trust was launched last year, he "dreaded" the day that it would be needed, but is "more grateful than ever" that the charity exists.

"I said at its launch last year that I dreaded the day when it would be needed. Sadly, with the outbreak of Covid-19, that day has come faster than any of us would have hoped. But now, more than ever, I am grateful that The National Emergencies Trust exists. It will ensure that support reaches those across the UK who need it most, as quickly and efficiently as possible," the royal said.

His statement comes days after his father, Prince Charles, along with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, suspended their scheduled tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Cyprus and Jordan, due to the pandemic. Queen Elizabeth II also cancelled all her upcoming palace garden parties as well as her visit to Cheshire and Camden.

Prince William
Prince William Getty

Meanwhile, all schools across the UK have also been closed indefinitely. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the move and said that when school gates shut on Friday they will not reopen for the foreseeable future, reports Mail Online.