‘Preparing For High Death Toll’: Construction Underway for Makeshift Hospital in London

The construction of a makeshift hospital to help accommodate London’s increasing number of coronavirus cases began at the ExCel exhibition center on Wednesday, March 25, and one worker shot video showing the renovation in its early stages.

In the footage, worker Paul Tarver expresses surprise at the size of one of the center’s two halls, both of which are roughly 580 meters (1902 feet) long.

“I didn’t take this virus […] very seriously until I saw this morning,” Tarver says.

The NHS Nightingale Hospital in East London would be ready for use from the following week, initially housing 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen, but with the option to increase capacity into the thousands as required, the NHS said on Tuesday.

According to the BBC, the center will eventually hold 4,000 beds.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said clinicians and managers were “working with military planners and engineers to create, equip, staff and open” the hospital.

“This will be a model of care never needed or seen before in this country, but our specialist doctors are in touch with their counterparts internationally who are also opening facilities like this, in response to the shared global pandemic," he added.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “In the face of this unprecedented global emergency, we are taking exceptional steps to increase NHS capacity so we can treat more patients, fight the virus and save lives.” Credit: Paul Tarver via Storyful