London's ExCel Centre converts to makeshift hospital
Preparations have begun for a temporary hospital which will open in London next week. Hoping to help alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS from COVID-19, the NHS Nightingale hospital will be one of a number of crisis centres in operation around the UK. Set up with the help of the Ministry of Defence in London's ExCel Centre the hospital will accommodate up to 4,000 beds in two separate wards.
The Health Secretary, Matt 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."
Military planners visited the 70,000 visitor capacity centre in east London’s Docklands on Sunday to see how the site could be utilised.
The 100,000 sq metre site is intended to deal with the expected surge in coronavirus patients with severe breathing difficulties for whom beds are unlikely be available in London’s overflowing intensive care units. Defence sources have said that a number of emergency hospitals will be built around the UK, but that London was higher on the priority list due to the fact that the rate of coronavirus infections is considered to be running 1.5 to 2.5 weeks ahead. “We will service and support the whole of the United Kingdom,” a source added.
The event halls at ExCeL London feature more than 87,000 square metres of space and capacity for more than 68,000 visitors, in addition to several smaller areas within the venue.
A department spokesman said: “To assist NHS England to prepare for a number of scenarios as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, a team of military planners visited the ExCel centre in London to determine how the centre might benefit the NHS response to the outbreak.”
The NEC in Birmingham has also said it “stands ready” and is “well-equipped” should the centre be considered as a suitable location for a temporary hospital.
In a statement, a spokeswoman said: “We are and have been in constant communication with the local NHS trust, police and fire service, and the services are fully aware of the capabilities of the venue. We will do our utmost to support the effort in combating the virus.”
Could the MFCC or SMX Manila be next?
As the COVID-19 health crisis continues to dominate globally it looks likely that a number of venues could be switching their usual stands for hospital beds. The Malta Fairs and Convention Centre is Malta's largest exhibition venue, having hosted a number of the country's top events, including SiGMA's annual expo, while the SMX convention centre will open its doors to SiGMA inaugural super show in Manila.
About SiGMA Expo:
The iGaming summit SiGMA is setting its sights on Asia. Our ground breaking Asian iGaming expo will be held in Manila, on the 8th & 9th of June 2020. SiGMA's largest venue to date will bring together high quality conferences and content, premium networking opportunities, and luxury networking event. 10,000 delegates from across Europe, the US, and Asia are expected to attend, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region. To become a part of the fastest paced Asian iGaming event, book a pass or sponsor & exhibit.
For those planning to attend SiGMA Manila, AIBC Manila and ICE Asia at SMX on June 8-9th, this is the buzzing business environment to be expected: