Thursday 26 March 2020 12:23 pm

Coronavirus: London's Excel centre set to open 500 hospital beds next week

A temporary hospital at East London’s Excel centre will have 500 beds open next week for coronavirus patients.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that the Excel centre would be turned into the NHS Nightingale Hospital, to deal with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, and will have 4,000 beds.

An official Downing Street spokesman said today that the government was aiming to have 500 beds open by next week.

When asked if other convention centres could also be converted into temporary hospitals, he said: “NHS EnglandĀ is actively preparing for a number of scenarios and is working with clinicians and teams of military planners to support the local health service around the country.”

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The UK’s Covid-19 death toll reached 465 people last night as the number of confirmed cases hit 9,529.

A part of the government’s efforts to deal with the increasing number of infections revolves around ordering ventilators en masse for the NHS.

Currently the health service has just over 8,000 ventilators, which have been deemed as insufficient for how many the country will need as coronavirus hits its peak.

Boris Johnson wrote two weeks ago to manufacturing companies to use their plants to make ventilators for the coronavirus effort.

Today, the government announced it would buy 10,000 ventilators from vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson.

Downing Street’s offficial spokesman said the government was expecting thousands of ventilators to arrive next week, with more “thousands more in the pipeline”.

He said that all ventilators that are put into hospitals will pass through a set of stringent regulatory tests.

“New orders are all dependent on machines passing regulatory tests -this is the case with Dyson,” he said.

“The machines must meet the necessary safety and regulatory standards.”