Inside UK’s first coronavirus mega-hospital

Incredible images from inside the ExCeL Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into London’s emergency coronavirus hospital is underway. 

The ExCeL London Centre is being refitted to create thousands of new beds for COVID-19 sufferers, complete with oxygen, ventilators and other key equipment in the battle against the deadly virus. 

The exhibition centre, in East London, will become the NHS Nightingale Hospital, creating an impressive 4,000 beds.

Incredible images from inside the ExCel Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into London's emergency coronavirus hospital is underway

Incredible images from inside the ExCel Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into London's emergency coronavirus hospital is underway

Incredible images from inside the ExCel Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into London’s emergency coronavirus hospital is underway 

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London on Sunday morning 

Ambulances are seen outside the Excel Centre, London, while it is being prepared to become the NHS Nightingale Hospital, as the capital prepares for a 'tsunami' of patients

Ambulances are seen outside the Excel Centre, London, while it is being prepared to become the NHS Nightingale Hospital, as the capital prepares for a 'tsunami' of patients

Ambulances are seen outside the Excel Centre, London, while it is being prepared to become the NHS Nightingale Hospital, as the capital prepares for a ‘tsunami’ of patients 

It comes as the UK death toll surged by 181 yesterday as Government advisers warned that even stricter social distancing measures could be on the way. 

It is by far the biggest daily increase and means the disease has claimed 759 lives, including young and previously healthy people.

Government advisers said stricter social distancing policies may have to be rolled out next month if the grim figures continued to rise. 

The measures would be introduced in three weeks as the outbreak reached its peak to further reduce ‘person-to-person interaction’. 

Ambulances were seen lining up outside the exhibition centre, soon to become the  NHS Nightingale Hospital, on Sunday morning, as workers were busy transforming the building inside.

Military and contractors building the Nightingale Hospital for coronavirus patients at the Excel centre in east London, above and below

Military and contractors building the Nightingale Hospital for coronavirus patients at the Excel centre in east London, above and below

Military and contractors building the Nightingale Hospital for coronavirus patients at the Excel centre in east London, above and below 

The transformed building is expected to open as a fully-functioning hospital by next Saturday, April 4

The transformed building is expected to open as a fully-functioning hospital by next Saturday, April 4

The transformed building is expected to open as a fully-functioning hospital by next Saturday, April 4

Extraordinary pictures show how hundreds of cubicles were being erected inside the vast space to create a layout resembling a hospital ward

Extraordinary pictures show how hundreds of cubicles were being erected inside the vast space to create a layout resembling a hospital ward

Extraordinary pictures show how hundreds of cubicles were being erected inside the vast space to create a layout resembling a hospital ward

Military planners are working with Health Service officials to create the new hospital in the capital from scratch to accommodate rising numbers of patients.

Extraordinary pictures show how hundreds of cubicles were being erected inside the vast space to create a layout resembling a hospital ward. 

Ambulance workers this morning unloaded medical equipment including oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside NHS Nightingale. 

The building is expected to open as a fully-functioning hospital by next Saturday, April 4.   

Military planners are working with Health Service officials to create the new hospital in the capital from scratch to accommodate rising numbers of patients

Military planners are working with Health Service officials to create the new hospital in the capital from scratch to accommodate rising numbers of patients

Military planners are working with Health Service officials to create the new hospital in the capital from scratch to accommodate rising numbers of patients

Contractors carry building materials to form the new hospital wards for coronavirus patents in East London

Contractors carry building materials to form the new hospital wards for coronavirus patents in East London

Contractors carry building materials to form the new hospital wards for coronavirus patents in East London 

The NHS has warned of a potential 'tsunami' of COVID-19 patients in the capital over the coming weeks before the capital reaches its peak of infections

The NHS has warned of a potential 'tsunami' of COVID-19 patients in the capital over the coming weeks before the capital reaches its peak of infections

The NHS has warned of a potential ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 patients in the capital over the coming weeks before the capital reaches its peak of infections

The NHS has warned of a potential ‘tsunami’ of COVID-19 patients in the capital over the coming weeks before the capital reaches its peak of infections.  

It comes as it emerged a retired nurse from Northern Ireland will go back to work on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic to head the new hospital.  

Deirdre Barr, 62, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet. 

She will now leave her home in Kent to work at the new hospital amid the global pandemic. 

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London this morning

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London this morning

An ambulance worker unloads oxygen tanks, heart monitors and defibrillators outside the ExCel Center in London this morning

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London

Ambulance staff and health workers outside the ExCel Center in London

Her sister Dolores, 74, said that although the family were concerned for Barr, they were extremely proud of her decision. 

‘This is a massive job, and we’re scared for Deirdre, but we are so very proud that she has taken it on. If anyone can do this, Deirdre can. She’s always been the one person her whole family turns to in times of trouble and sickness.

‘Now the whole of the UK will be turning to her. She’ll handle it well. She has broad shoulders and never shirks from responsibility.

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet

‘This job is going to ask an awful lot of her but we know she’ll face it head on. The pictures we are seeing of the Nightingale Hospital are terrifying but our Deirdre will take it all in her stride,’ she told the Daily Mirror. 

It comes as NHS nurses from all over the UK are sent to London as the capital is set to be struck by a ‘tsunami’ of cases in the coming weeks.

The ExCel hospital is set to open next week, with 500 beds and plans to expand to 4,000.

London Ambulance Service vehicles are seen outside the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London

London Ambulance Service vehicles are seen outside the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London

London Ambulance Service vehicles are seen outside the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London

Defence secretary Ben Wallace has described the plans as an ‘ambitious project’ that ‘is just one example of what can be achieved when they come together to help the nation’. 

It has been reported that as many as 13 makeshift hospitals may be needed in the UK to tackle the health crisis. 

The UK saw coronavirus cases jump by 2,921 on Friday to almost 15,000, the largest increase so far, while the death toll spiked by a third to 759. 

 

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