London's Nightingale Hospital put 'on standby' as new coronavirus cases plummet

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The Nightingale Hospital in London, located at the ExCel centre, will be placed “on standby” with no new coronavirus admissions expected in the coming days, Downing Street has said. The facility was the first of a string of Nightingale hospitals to open across the UK in response to the pandemic. It was formally opened on April 3 and has the capacity to treat 4,000 coronavirus patients.

Prince Charles officially opened the hospital via video-link, having just recovered from the virus himself.

Currently just 20 patients are being treated there, according to the BBC.

In a briefing to staff, Charles Knight, CEO of the Nightingale London, said: “Thanks to the determination and sacrifice of Londoners in following the expert advice to stay home and save lives we have not had to expand the Nightingale’s capacity beyond the first ward.

“As the Prime Minister has said, we are now past the first peak in coronavirus cases and the NHS is therefore moving into the second phase of its response to this global pandemic.

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London’s NHS Nightingale hospital will be placed ‘on standby’ (Image: Getty)

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London’s NHS Nightingale opened on April 3 (Image: Getty)

“It is likely that in the coming days we will not need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale, while coronavirus in the capital remains under control.

“As a result, after the last of this our first group of patients leaves, the hospital will be placed on standby, ready to resume operations as and when needed in the weeks and potentially months to come.

“So this does not mean our role in London’s response to the virus is over.

“We must be ready for the possibility that the number of COVID-19 cases rise again if and when the Government eases social distancing rules.

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Other NHS Nightingale Hospital’s have opened around the country (Image: Getty)

“That is why the London Nightingale will stand ready should it again be needed.”

The London Hospital was set up to act as a dedicated intensive care unit for coronavirus patients.

It took just nine days to equip the hospital with beds and ventilators, with help from the Army.

When the pandemic first took hold in the UK, it was feared the virus would overwhelm London hospitals and the NHS.


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UK Coronavirus map live (Image: Express)

As a result, plans were drawn up to create several Nightingale Hospitals across the country. 

Hospitals have been opened in Bristol, Harrogate, Sunderland, Exeter, Devon and Tyne and Wear.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “These hospitals will provide backup and support for NHS hospitals across the South West and the North East, should it be needed.

“Our local health service staff have rightly recommended we go ahead with these additional facilities.

“But our ambition as a country has to be to continue to stay at home to cut infections and save lives – so that the need to actually use these Nightingale hospitals is as limited as possible.”

It comes after the number of cases in the capital have started to significantly drop, with the north west not overtaking London as the epicentre of the virus.

London has now passed its peak infection rate, which occurred on April 8 with 4,813 coronavirus infections.

Government data released on Sunday showed new infections from coronavirus in London had declined and totaled 2,033.

However, patients infected with the pathogen in the northwest of England increased to 2,191.

The latest figures from Public Health England show ​a total of 186,599 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK.

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