LONDON — Britain will open a 4,000 capacity hospital in a London conference center next week to cope with demand from the coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a virtual press conference, where journalists asked questions via video link, that the Nightingale Hospital will open at the ExCeL center near London City Airport.
He added the NHS is set for a boost of around 35,000 extra staff, after thousands of former doctors and nurses responded to a call to return to the service to assist the national effort.
He also put out a call for a quarter of a million volunteers to help the health service and deliver food and medicines to the most vulnerable members of society who are “shielding” from the virus in isolation.
Hancock said the new hospital will be set up with the help of the military and NHS clinicians to make sure “everyone can get the support they need.” It will have two wards of 2,000 people each.
He said 11,788 former health workers had answered the call to return to the NHS, including 2,660 doctors, 6,147 nurses and 2,500 other health professionals.
Meanwhile, 5,500 final year medical students and 18,700 final year student nurses will “move to the front line” to help the health service through the crisis.
Hancock also noted that the