Around 10 more sites across the UK could soon be converted into makeshift coronavirus hospitals to help the NHS deal with the pandemic, Sky News reports.
Five locations are already being examined by military planners for use by the Department of Health and Social Care, a Whitehall source said. It’s thought the hospitals are likely to be close to cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.
The news comes as the ExCel exhibition centre in London is currently being turned into a 4,000 bed hospital with two ‘super wards’. Soldiers, medics and construction workers have been working on the site to create the extra medical resource in just a matter of days.
A second source stated that the government is now planning for eight to 10 other ‘pop-up hospitals’ to be built in the coming weeks. However, they will not be as big as the ExCel conversion.
It will help the NHS manage the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which has killed 578 people so-far across the UK. As of 5pm today, there are 11,658 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in the country.
Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that the ExCel centre would reopen next week as the newly named NHS Nightingale Hospital. It will start off with a capacity for 500 patients before it is expanded, and will be staffed by NHS workers and military medics.
On Wednesday, a construction worker at the site filmed a video inside one of the huge halls, which he said is about 1km-long, while urging viewers to digest the scale of the building and take the pandemic seriously.
He said: ‘I didn’t take this virus very seriously until I saw this this morning and this is the size of the hall – this is where it’s all going.’
Along with the two wards, two morgues will also be constructed in the building.
The construction worker added: ‘If you’re not taking it seriously like I wasn’t I think we really need to start because they’re preparing for an absolute high death toll here.
‘Excel London. Welcome to NHS Nightingale.’
Converting the centre will be a mammoth logistical operation but it is one the army is ready for, a retired British general has said.
Members of the military are part of the Covid-19 support force, which will next week open and run the hospital.
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