London’s ExCeL has been opened as the new NHS Nightingale Hospital after a massive retrofit operation that took just nine days.
The temporary hospital will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, but will be able to hold as many as 4000 patients in total.
It is the first of several such facilities planned across the UK, which has seen a spike in Covid-19 related deaths which are now heading towards 4000.
“We are proud to be able to accommodate the increasing demand for hospital beds and will work with the NHS to facilitate this request,” ExCeL London CEO Jeremy Rees said.
Prince Charles officially opened the new hospital via video link after spending a week in self isolation after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
“In this dark time, this place will be a shining light,” he said.
Two more temporary facilities will be built at the University of the West of England in Bristol and the Harrogate Convention Centre.
Others are also due to be set up at Manchester’s Central Complex as well as Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, which will open to patients on 12 April.
“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.