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.
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.
During the seven-day period of Feb.3-9, the EU as a whole recorded an average daily of 103,250 new infections, which was 16 per cent down on the previous week. The average number of deaths each day was 3,137, or seven percent fewer.
French gross domestic product shrank 5.8% in the quarter from the previous three months, when the euro zone's second-biggest economy contracted 0.1%, the INSEE official statistics agency said.
“We are seeing a roughly similar pattern everywhere — I suspect we have more immunity than estimated,” Professor Karol Sikora, who previously directed the WHO’s cancer programme, said.
"Ramzan Kadyrov was taken by plane to Moscow with a suspected case of coronavirus. Now (he) is under medical supervision," state news agency TASS reported, citing a medical source who also said Kadyrov was in a "stable" condition.
Biden said on Thursday that the risk of nuclear "Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Russian officials speak of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering massive setbacks in the eight-month invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "a guy I know fairly well” and the Russian leader was "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”
Around 100 tents were destroyed in a fire at one of the refugee camps in Lebanon on Wednesday. According to local media reports the tragic incident happened at Al Wafa refugee camp in Lebanon's Arsal region, northeast of Beirut.
In a statement, the Foundation revealed that an Emirati woman had endowed a property in the Al Nahda II area in Dubai. The property is a 12-floor-residential building consisting of 74 apartments spread over 12 floors.