Prince Charles opens 4,000-bed coronavirus field hospital in London

British heir to the throne, Prince Charles has commisioned a new 4,000-bed temporary hospital in a conference centre in East London on Friday, to help Britain deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The new state-run National Health Service Hospital is named after 19th-century nurse Florence Nightingale and has been built in just nine days.

Prince Charles officially launched the facility via videolink from Scotland, where he has been in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

He paid tribute to everyone involved, calling it “quite frankly incredible” to have transformed the giant ExCeL centre into a critical care facility in such a short space of time.

“I was one of the lucky ones to have COVID-19 relatively mildly,” he said. “But for some, it will be a much harder journey.

NHS Nightingale London will initially take 500 people in the coming days, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has also tested positive for COVID-19.

The size of 10 district general hospitals, the new facility has more than 80 wards, each containing 42 beds, and when fully operational will require more than 16,000 staff to run.

Hancock praised the NHS, a taxpayer-funded service free at the point of use, which has been struggling in recent years as a result of public spending cuts.

Temporary hospitals are also being built in exhibition centres in the cities of Birmingham and Manchester, with capacity of up to 3,000 beds between them.

A third is under construction in Glasgow and plans are also in place to build two more in Bristol, in western England, and the northern city of Harrogate offering 1,500 beds.

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