- The UK is creating five new hospitals to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
- The temporary hospitals will be in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.
- NHS and military medics will tend to patients at the facilities, while cabin crew laid off by UK airlines will be offered other jobs.
China famously built a brand-new hospital in Wuhan in six days at the height of the coronavirus outbreak there.
Now, the UK is following suit by creating five new hospitals capable of treating a total of 10,000 patients in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.
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The first is in East London’s Docklands district at the ExCeL convention centre, which military and civilian medics and engineers have converted into two massive wards, each capable of treating 2,000 people.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says the Nightingale Hospital – named after Florence Nightingale, the British nurse and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern nursing – is ready for its first 500 patients, just one week after it was first announced.
Thousands of staff who have been laid off by grounded UK-based airlines, many of whom have first aid qualifications, have been offered jobs at the new facility.
Work is also underway on two more Nightingale hospitals in England at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham and at Manchester Central Complex. The Scottish government says the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow will be converted into a 1,000-bed temporary hospital.
In Wales, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, the home of Welsh Rugby Union, is to be turned into a 2,000-bed field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.
All the hospitals will draw nurses and doctors from across the UK health service. Some military medics will also tend to patients.
What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.
The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.
As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.
“This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this, in response to the shared global pandemic,” said NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens.
“Despite these amazing measures, the fact is no health service in the world will cope if coronavirus lets rip, which is why NHS staff are pleading with the public to follow medical advice – stay at home, stop the virus spreading, and save lives,” he added.
Three-quarters of a million people have so far volunteered to help out at NHS hospitals across the UK in non-medical roles. A government call for retired medics and nurses to return to their professions to fight COVID-19 saw 20,000 come forward.