Chilling glimpse inside London’s new coronavirus hospital with two morgues
A haunting video shows the size of London's brand-new Nightingale Hospital which is being built in double-quick time for when coronavirus peaks in a matter of weeks.
The video, which has gone viral on Facebook, is recorded by builder Alex Woodside who talks directly to the camera and says he is staggered by the scope of the project.
Showing-off the massive hallway, he says: "I'm here at ExCel in central London. Just here making the new makeshift hospital. I'm currently making the cables for it."
The endless space is bright and airy, with white walls and easy-to-clean polished concrete floors.
Admitting he hadn't cared too much about the coronavirus pandemic initially, he says: "To be fair, I didn't take this virus very seriously until I saw this.
"I come in and this is the size of the hall. This is where it's all going. We've got 4,000 beds to go in, two morgues. This hall is a kilometer long and there is a hall out of the other side too. I'm not sure what's happening there."
Giving a somber warning, he adds: "If you're not taking it seriously like I wasn't you really need to start. Because they're preparing for a high death toll here."
NHS England hasn't commented on the morgues, but it is likely they are being built to serve other hospitals in London too – as has been previously reported in emergency plans – when the coronavirus peak hits.
The ExCel exhibition centre in east London's Royal Docks was chosen for its convenient location – it is a stone's throw from London City Airport which is being used by the military during the coronavirus crisis.
The RAF has been helping to deliver medical supplies – including protective wear for nurses and doctors – and get the hospital operational.
NHS England has said Nightingale Hospital will be ready from next week and will "initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen".
Depending on how the coronavirus pandemic progresses the maximum capacity could reach several thousand beds "should it be required", it added.
In an earlier statement, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, we are taking exceptional steps to increase NHS capacity so we can treat more patients, fight the virus and save lives.
“I applaud the NHS, engineers, and the military for their continued work on setting up the new NHS Nightingale Hospital so it is ready to open its doors next week – a remarkable feat in these challenging circumstances.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens warned that despite the “amazing measures” taken to build the hospital, ordinary people must still do their bit to halt the spread of the virus.
He said: “No health service in the world will cope if coronavirus lets rip, which is why NHS staff are pleading with the public to follow medical advice – stay at home, stop the virus spreading, and save lives.”
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