THE Army is transforming London’s ExCel centre into an enormous makeshift hospital to fight coronavirus.
Together with the NHS, the Ministry of Defence is rapidly creating the 4,000 bed-capacity NHS Nightingale in the heart of the capital.
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London is the worst hit with the virus so far, with hospitals already struggling to cope with the influx of patients.
To tackle the killer virus the huge building – usually used for exhibitions, conferences and sporting events – is becoming another hospital – with ventilators and oxygen.
It comes as more than 14,500 cases have been reported in the UK, with 759 people dead from COVID-19.
Earlier this week chilling footage was released showing the inside of the temporary coronavirus hospital being built for a “high death toll” with two morgues.
Worker Alex Woodside filmed inside the exhibition centre as Britain continues to be gripped by the deadly disease.
NHS Nightingale is expected to be opened by April 4, with military medics working on the site to help stop the spread of the disease.
The worker posted a clip on social media showing the hospital’s main arena, which will span 1km once completed and have space for two morgues as the UK death toll continues to rise.
He said: “To be fair, I didn’t take this virus very seriously until I saw this this morning. There will be two morgues here. If you’re not taking it seriously like I wasn’t you really need to start. Because they’re preparing for a high death toll here.”
The NHS Nightingale is really an extraordinary feat.Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England
Matt Hancock previously revealed plans for NHS Nightingale, saying: “We will next week open a new hospital, temporary hospital, the NHS Nightingale hospital.
“With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure we have the capacity we need so that everybody can get the support they need.”
Following suit, the Manchester Central convention centre will also be turned into a coronavirus field hospital for up to 1000 patients.
It comes after it emerged Birmingham Airport could be turned into a temporary coronavirus mortuary for 12,000 bodies.
The airport is next to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC), which has already been discussed as a possible location for a temporary field hospital.
Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, said: “The NHS Nightingale is really an extraordinary feat.
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The PM didn’t mention this in his press statement.
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“From a standing start, a day or two ago, a hospital will be built that will be able to take its first patients at the start of next week.
“That is a remarkable achievement, that our staff, working with the military have been able to work on.”
The NEC in Birmingham is also being considered as another regional field hospital.
Military chiefs will also look to build more massive field hospitals across the nation in conference centres, football stadiums and cricket grounds.
The makeshift hospitals will be similar to those seen in coronavirus ground zero Wuhan, which were rapidly built as the virus took hold.
Last week we told how supermarkets including Iceland and Tesco announced special store hours for NHS staff so they can access food and essentials during the coronavirus epidemic.
It comes after one nurse made a tearful plea to fellow shoppers to stop stockpiling food and essentials after ending her 48-hour shift to find supermarket shelves empty.
Yesterday we reported how frontline Heathrow immigration officer and his daughter tragically died from coronavirus 24 hours apart.
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Britain turned blue on Thursday night and joined in a mass round of applause to thank NHS heroes battling deadly coronavirus.
Landmarks lit up for frontline healthcare workers, while Brits up and down the country clapped and whooped in a joint show of support.