Great Britain

First coronavirus patients arrive at London’s Nightingale Hospital built to provide emergency care for 4,000 victims

THE first coronavirus patients have arrived at the new 4,000-bed Nightingale Hospital tonight.

London's ExCel Centre has been transformed into a huge field hospital as cases and deaths in the capital continue to rise.

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The hospital, built in just over a week, will initially take on 500 coronavirus patients who are being transferred from other intensive care units in the capital.

Richard Schilling, a professor or cardiology, tweeted: "The amazing team at the Nightingale Hospital received their first patient with the professionalism of a hospital in existence for two decades, not two weeks. Very proud to be part of it."

He also shared a photo of the "first team coming on duty".

An NHS Nightingale London spokeswoman said: "Our first patients have now been admitted to the NHS Nightingale London, as planned.

"There is also treatment capacity available in other hospitals across London to complement the care being provided at the London Nightingale."

The NHS Nightingale Hospital in London was formally opened on Friday by the Prince of Wales, who spoke via video-link from Balmoral.

It will need an army of up to 16,000 staff in clinical and ancillary roles to keep it running.

Split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each, the facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units across London.

It was set up by NHS contractors in just over a week with the assistance of around 200 military personnel.

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The ExCel centre performed a U-turn on charging the NHS to turn the exhibition space into the 4,000-bed hospital.

Centre boss Jeremy Rees said: "The initial agreement with the NHS included a contribution to fixed costs. We have since decided to cover them ourselves."

It was reported the complex was charging the NHS up to £3million per month.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is spending a second night in intensive care.

The Prime Minister's condition on Tuesday night remained "stable" as he stayed in St Thomas's for "close monitoring", according to Downing Street.

On the deadliest day of the crisis yet, the UK daily death toll from coronavirus reached a new grim high of 786.


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Concerns were raised over when the lockdown measures will be reviewed - and England's chief medical officer admitted the UK has "a lot to learn" from Germany's expansive testing scheme.

But there was cautious optimism from chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance after he said the fight against Covid-19 "could be moving in the right direction".

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