The NHS Nightingale Hospital, built in just nine days in response to the coronavirus crisis, has opened to its first patients.

The facility, on the site of the ExCeL Centre in the Docklands in east London, has capacity for between 4,000 and 5,000 beds.

And today it admitted its first wave of patients.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has called its construction "nothing short of extraordinary".

He added: "Now we are gearing up to repeat that feat at another four sites across the country to add to the surge capacity in current NHS hospitals."

Most recent figures show that across the capital, 899 people have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.

Managers at the ExCel Centre says they will cover all costs after reports NHS was being charged up to £3m a month in rent for the site

However, a report in the Health Service Journal says the true figure for deaths could be as high as 1,053 if Covid-19 victims who died before they reached hospital are included.

Student accommodation at the nearby University of East London will be used for doctors, medics and other hospital staff working at the Nightingale.

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CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

The hospital is the first in a series expected to be set up across the UK, including in NEC in Birmingham and the G-Mex centre in Manchester as well as in Cardiff, Harrogate and Bristol.

They will reportedly focus on the treatment of younger patients.

The SEC in Glasgow is being converted into the NHS Louisa Jordan hospital, with an 300 beds at first, expanding to 1,000 if need arises.

The building, normally an exhibition centre, is being made into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each holding up to 2,000 people

Belfast City Hospital’s tower block has also been designated as a Nightingale hospital to cope with the expected increase in patients affected by Covid-19.

Health Minister Robin Swann, visiting the facilities, said: "We have additional ventilators on order to meet our estimated clinical care need of 400 ventilated clinical care beds.

"And there are another 500 respiratory devices on order that can support patients before or after critical care.”