Prince Charles opens new London field hospital for virus patients - GulfToday

Prince Charles opens new London field hospital for virus patients

PrinceCharlesOpensHosptial

Prince Charles, while in Scotland, sends a video message to guests at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London on Friday. Reuters

Prince Charles remotely opened a vast temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients at London’s main exhibition centre on Friday, as the number of coronavirus-related deaths reported in the UK surpassed China’s official total.

While confirmed virus cases and deaths continued to rise steeply, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he remained in isolation with a fever eight days after testing positive for the new virus.

Charles, who on Monday completed a week of self-isolating as he recovered from COVID-19, said via video link that he was “enormously touched” to be asked to open the new Nightingale Hospital, which was built in just nine days at the vast ExCel conference center in east London, with corridors stretching a full kilometer (just over half a mile).

It opens with around 500 beds but when at its expected full capacity of 4,000 beds, it will be the biggest hospital facility in the UK.

Charles, 71, paid tribute to everyone, including military personnel, involved in its “spectacular and almost unbelievable” construction.

PrinceCharlesHomePrince Charles sends a video message to the guests at the opening of the NHS Nightingale Hospital from his home. Reuters

An example, if ever one was needed, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity,” he said from his home in Scotland, Birkhall.

The new National Health Service hospital will only care for people with COVID-19, and patients will only be assigned there after their local London hospital reaches its capacity. Charles described himself as one of “the lucky ones” with only mild symptoms but noted “for some it will be a much harder journey.”

He expressed his hope that the hospital “is needed for as short a time and for as few people as possible.”

The hospital is named after Florence Nightingale, who treated British and allied soldiers during the Crimean War of the 1850s and is considered to be the founder of modern nursing.

Further new hospitals are being planned across the UK, including in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, to alleviate pressure on the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who also contracted COVID-19 and emerged from his own self-isolation on Thursday., said the peak of the epidemic in Britain is likely to be in the “coming weeks” and could be as soon as next weekend.

The number of virus-related deaths in Britain has sharply increased in the past two weeks. Government figures provided Friday showed that a total of 3,605 people who tested positive have died in British hospitals, an increase of 684 from a day earlier.

The youngest victim, 13-year-old London boy Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, was buried Friday without his family in attendance.

Associated Press

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