The ExCel London will be converted into a hospital to care for coronavirus patients, the secretary of state for health and social care, Matt Hancock has announced
The total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the UK now stands at 422 and is rising.
Following yesterday’s (23 March) UK lockdown coronavirus update, it has now been confirmed that the ExCel London will be converted into a ‘makeshift hospital’ which will allow for 4,000 beds.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus update, Hancock said: “We will, next week, open a new hospital – a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London.
“The NHS Nightingale Hospital will comprise two wards, each of 2,000 people.
“With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need.”
More centres like the ExCel are being identified as possible makeshift hospitals if needed.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) March 24, 2020
Much-needed critical care beds
Officials are in dire need of expanding the availability of critical care beds in London, which has seen the level of COVID-19 cases rise considerably over the last few days.
In comments to The Guardian, one NHS official said: “The ExCeL will become a field hospital of 4,000 critical care beds.
“It will be staffed by military medics but it’s still unclear where all the nurses needed will come from.”
The BBC states the exhibition centre will be “dubbed the NHS Nightingale Centre, the temporary base will be staffed by NHS medics with the help of the military.”
The event halls at ExCeL London incorporate more than 87,000 sq m of space and capacity for more than 68,000 visitors.