London's Excel Centre set to become temporary hospital during Covid-19

The field hospital will be treating coronavirus patients within days

Updated on 25 March 2020 • Written By Henry Coldstream

London's Excel Centre set to become temporary hospital during Covid-19

It has been announced that the Excel Conference Centre in London's Docklands is in the process of being converted into a huge temporary field hospital.

The 100,000 sq metre London venue will be treating patients within a few days with an initial capacity of 500 beds, which will quickly rise to an eventual capacity of around 4,000 beds. This is to cope with the surge in Coronavirus cases, particularly in London, which is currently estimated to be around two weeks ahead of the rest of the UK in terms of rate of infection.

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Military personnel have been brought in to help with the conversion operation, with military planners having gone to the venue on Sunday to see how it could be be used by the NHS. It is expected that the hospital at the Excel will be the first of many at large-scale venues around the UK, with the NEC in Birmingham saying that it's ready should the need arise for it to be used.

Health secretary Matt Hancock spoke about the hospital at a press conference on Tuesday, saying: "We will next week open a new hospital, a temporary hospital, the NHS Nightingale hospital, at the ExCel centre in London”.

“The NHS Nightingale hospital will comprise two wards each of 2,000 people. With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians, we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need.”

The Excel Conference Centre usually hosts a number of big events throughout the year including London's MCM Comic Con, as well as London Bridal Fashion Week.

The Covid-19 outbreak has also resulted in some incredibly generous acts of kindness in the hospitality industry. Last week Gary Neville announced that he is opening his two Manchester hotels for free to NHS staff.