UK

Prince Charles Declares London's NHS Nightingale Hospital Open

British military helped build the temporary hospital at the ExCel centre, which will be used to treat people with coronavirus.

The UK’s first temporary hospital to treat patients with COVID-19 has opened at London's ExCel centre.

Prince Charles took part in the official opening of NHS Nightingale via videolink as he self-isolates too after contracting the virus.

There are five hundred intensive care unit beds there to start with, equipped with ventilators.

NHS England said it has the capacity for up to around 4,000 beds, should they be needed.

It is being staffed mainly by NHS doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from across the UK.

Matt Hancock praised all those involved in the setting up of the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre during a speech at the opening ceremony.

He said the "extraordinary project", the core of which was completed in just nine days, was a "testament to the work and the brilliance of the many people involved".

He also praised the NHS and the way its staff are dealing with the virus crisis.

"In these troubled times with this invisible killer stalking the whole world, the fact that in this country we have the NHS is even more valuable than before," he added.

WATCH: Inside the NHS Nightingale hospital at London's ExCel centre before it opened.

It took under a fortnight to build the new hospital at the ExCeL Centre, a space normally used for exhibitions.

The British Government has said more equipment is on the way but despite assurances, there are still life-threatening shortages.

Manufacturers have been helping to produce more ventilators, although there are questions too over whether there is enough trained staff to operate them at NHS Nightingale.

As of 2 April, the total number of deaths from coronavirus stands at 2,921, according to the Department of Health.

Dr Allan McGlellan, medical director of the NHS Nightingale, said: "The NHS faces the greatest challenge in its history but by setting up this new site we can work with the hardest hit part of the country, to support staff in the capital’s other hospitals and make sure people who need intensive care can get it.

"We are ready today to do what’s required of us, but my hope is that we are not needed, because if we all take sensible steps to reduce transmission of this virus then fewer people will need care and the pressure on my hard-working colleagues will reduce."