Emergency hospital to be created at London's ExCel Centre to treat thousands of coronavirus sufferers
Matt Hancock made the announcement at the daily Downing Street press conference.
An emergency hospital with the capacity to treat 4,000 coronavirus sufferers is to be created by the Army in a London exhibition centre, it has been announced.
The ExCel Centre in the east of the capital will become the Nightingale Hospital in a bid to prevent the NHS collapsing as the number of people in the country catching the disease soars.
It is expected to start taking its first patients at the beginning of next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock also revealed that 11,788 former doctors, nurses and other NHS staff have answered the call to return to the frontline to help in the fight against the outbreak.
In addition, 5,500 final year medical students and 1,800 final year student nurses will begin working in the NHS early.
The Health Secretary's comments came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK rose by 1,427 to 8,077 and the death toll hit 422 - an increase of 87 in just 24 hours.
Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Hancock said: "We will, next week, open a new hospital - a temporary hospital - the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London.
"The NHS Nightingale Hospital will comprise two wards, each of 2,000 people.
"With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure that we have the capacity that we need so that everyone can get the support that they need."
The Health Secretary also launched 'NHS Volunteers", a campaign to get 250,000 people to help the health service in areas such as the delivery of medicines and to support high-risk individuals currently staying indoors to avoid catching Covid-19.
In a direct message to all NHS staff, Mr Hancock added: "You're going to give your all over the next few weeks and I want you to know that we salute you, and I will strain every sinew to get you everything you need to keep you safe so that you can do your job keeping us safe."
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