Birmingham’s Nightingale Hospital has been moved back to ‘high alert’ and is ready to reopen in 48 hours if needed.

The Nightingale Hospitals, which were built to cope with the soaring number of coronavirus cases at the peak of the pandemic, were  put on standby in June.

At the time, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the country may need the hospitals in the ‘months ahead’ if there was a second wave of infections.

Cases have rocketed across the Midlands, where the R rate is said to stand between 1.2 and 1.5.

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Chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham said the facility was being readied so it could be brought back into use more quickly if needed.

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Dr David Rosser revealed the news as he outlined the sense of anxiety among staff in his hospitals – with 14 people currently in intensive care.

It comes amid reports the UK could face another national lockdown to bring down soaring infection rates.

Today Boris Johnson admitted a second wave ‘is coming to the UK’ and said coronavirus hitting the country again is ‘inevitable’.

The prime minister said a second national lockdown was the ‘last thing anybody wants’ but that it could not be ruled out if current measures don’t bring the virus down.

Around 10 million people are living under tighter restrictions in the UK after the North East, Merseyside and Lancashire were put on lockdown this week.

Measures to contain the virus are already in place in parts of the Midlands, Greater Manchester, south Wales and Scotland.

Mr Johnson said his administration was considering whether it needed to ‘go further’ than the current crackdowns.

Reports suggest this could mean a two week national lockdown or a ‘circuit breaker’, which would see would see schools and most workplaces remain open but hospitality businesses may be forced to shut.

Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said action needs to be taken to prevent the virus spiralling in the capital.

He warned Londoners that a lockdown was ‘increasingly likely’ and said he would want to see this sooner rather than later to protect public health and the economy.

As hospitals prepare for a rising number of admissions, care homes are being told to accept infected patients.

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