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Military planners examining ’10 more sites’ for makeshift coronavirus hospitals

10 more UK sites to become makeshift coronavirus hospitals

Military planners are looking at building more pop-up hospitals to deal with the coronavirus pandemic (Picture: Rex/ Getty Images)

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.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Beretta/Sims/REX (10594468h) ExCel centre being transformed into NHS Nightingale Hospital Coronavirus outbreak, London, UK - 26 Mar 2020

The ExCel centre is being transformed into NHS Nightingale Hospital (Picture: Rex Features)

A tank of liquid oxygen is lifted from a low loader to be installed at the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London on March 26, 2020 after the government announced it will be converted into a field hospital to help with the coronavirus outbreak and to be known as the NHS Nightingale Hospital. - Britain on March 24 said it will open a 4,000-bed field hospital at a London exhibition centre to treat coronavirus cases in the latest measure to tackle the outbreak after the government ordered a nationwide lockdown. The British health secretary told a news conference the temporary hospital, to be known as the NHS Nightingale Hospital, would open at the ExCeL centre in east London with two wards each with a capacity for 2,000 people. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

The hospital should open next week (Picture: Getty Images)

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.’

The Birmingham canal system with a roundabout where two canals meet in the Gas Street Basin.

Birmingham is being looked at as a location (Picture: Getty Images)

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge (Keith Brownlie, Wilkinson Eyre Architects) between Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne and the River Tyne, the Sage Gateshead (Norman Foster architect) on the left, the Tyne bridge on the background

The extra hospitals will create more beds for patients (Picture: Getty Images)

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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