UK to open massive temporary London hospital to tackle coronavirus

General view outside the Excel Centre, London as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 23, 2020 Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly

The Excel centre, in London's eastend Docklands, will be used as a temporary hospital. Image: REUTERS/Steven Watt

Elizabeth Howcroft
Editorial Trainee, Reuters
Kylie MacLellan
IPO Correspondent , Reuters
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  • Britain will open a temporary hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
  • It will initially provide 500 beds, although capacity is expected to rise as required, to treat those infected with COVID-19.
  • The ExCel centre, which is being used to create the hospital, hosted sports including boxing and table tennis, during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Britain will open a temporary hospital next week at the ExCel exhibition centre in east London, health minister Matt Hancock said on Tuesday, as the country posted its biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths.

The hospital will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, the government said, with the capacity increasing up to several thousand beds if required.

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Britain has had more than 8,000 cases of coronavirus and 422 deaths, with the biggest number of cases in London, meaning hospitals in the capital are under particular pressure.

Last week a hospital in London briefly declared a “critical incident” due to shortage of intensive care beds caused by a rise in the number of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“We will next week open a new hospital, a temporary hospital, the NHS Nightingale hospital, at the ExCel centre in London,” Hancock said at a news conference.

He added: “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 ...”

The Excel Centre in the Docklands district of east London hs more than 900,000 sq feet (83,613 sq metres) of exhibition space and normally hosts industry events for sectors like defence, travel, hospitality and property. During the 2012 London Olympics it was used for a range of sports including boxing, fencing, table tennis and weightlifting.

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