The Liberal Democrats are demanding 2.2million key staff get a £29-a-day ‘service reward’, similar to that handed to military on active duty.
The policy, which could be backdated to the start of the lockdown, would mean billions of pounds for those at the sharp end of efforts to combat the disease.
There have been warnings that many are putting their own lives at risk with vital personal protective equipment in short supply.
The official NHS death toll stands at 43 – although the true figure is believed to be higher.
Polls have suggested the public is keen to find a way of recognising the contribution of NHS staff, with suggestions there could be a special medal struck.
Ministers are facing calls to give more than two million NHS and care workers on the front line of the coronavirus battle a danger bonus. Pictured are medics at St Thomas’ hospital last week
Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: ‘The fight against coronavirus is seeing several million key workers risking their lives to protect others. NHS and care staff are truly on the frontline in this national struggle – putting themselves in danger and working long shifts.
‘In our hospitals, care homes, hospices and in the wider health and care sector, an army of workers are protecting us.
‘When the country emerges from this crisis, we must also properly recognise those who were willing to serve and make a sacrifice, just as we do with military forces.
‘The Government must look at creating a frontline service reward, similar to the deployment allowance frontline troops receive.
‘There are many low-paid workers on the coronavirus frontline, and we must show our gratitude.’
Other measures in the initiative include providing more practical help for NHS and care staff such as getting hotels to provide accommodation for key workers self-isolating, our who have vulnerable people in their household.
And the Lib Dems want the Government to pay for the funerals of key workers who died trying to protect others from Covid-19.
Party officials said the frontline service reward could be for the duration of the lockdown, and would cover 700,000 NHS staff and 1.5million care workers.
They added that all key workers should also receive a coronavirus service medal.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association council, underlined fears NHS staff are lacking PPE today.
An ambulance drives past a sign in London voicing support from the NHS during the coronavirus crisis last week
He added: ‘Even more stressful now is that doctors and other healthcare workers are treating their own colleagues in intensive care on ventilators and tragically see some of them not survive.
‘This is extremely emotionally taxing and it’s showing its toll on the healthcare workforce.’
In a fresh embarrassment, it has emerged that a shipment of PPE from Turkey will not arrive today, as Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick boasted last night.
Mr Jenrick revealed the ‘very large consignment’ – crucially including 400,000 gowns – was on its way after fury that NHS staff are being told to reuse protective equipment.
However, the 84-tonne load is not expected to be here today, with logistical problems on the Turkish side being blamed.