- The UK government is turning a huge London venue into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients.
- The ExCeL Centre in east London will become the “Nightingale Hospital,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday.
- The hospital will be split into two wards and will be able to treat 4,000 patients
- Hancock revealed that nearly 12,000 retired health professionals had returned to work to help the NHS.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The UK is turning a huge conference venue in central London into a temporary hospital capable of treating 4,000 coronavirus patients, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday.
In a press conference today, Hancock confirmed reports that Boris Johnson’s government would be turning the ExCeL Centre in east London into a temporary critical care unit called the “Nightingale Hospital.”
The temporary hospital will have two wards, each capable of treating 2,000 people, Hancock said. The British military will help NHS staff with the management of the hospital.
The ExCeL Centre is usually used to host conventions and exhibitions. It is located between Canary Wharf, a key financial district in London, and the capital’s London City Airport.
Hancock also announced that 11,788 retired health professionals had so far returned to the NHS to help the health service treat coronavirus patients.
The health secretary also said that the government had launched a scheme designed to recruit 250,000 volunteers to bolster the UK’s fight against the virus, called “Your NHS Needs You.”
These volunteers will be asked to help protect the 1.5 million Brits who have been identified as being most at risk of the coronavirus.
The UK government is bracing itself for the number of COVID-19 virus cases grow quickly in the coming weeks.
There were 8,077 cases of the virus in the UK as of Tuesday, with 422 deaths linked to the virus.
Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Hancock said: “In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together as part of the national effort to protect the most vulnerable, reduce pressures on our NHS and care system and save lives.
“If you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today to help the most vulnerable people in our communities as an NHS Volunteer Responder.
“Your help has the potential to make a real difference to some of those most affected by this outbreak – from delivering essential prescriptions to calling to check on the wellbeing of those self-isolating.”
“I am immensely proud of how the whole country is coming together to help one another – we must continue to listen to and live by the latest medical and scientific advice and through this national effort we can truly make a difference.”