The ExCeL centre could be temporarily converted into a giant field hospital to treat patients with coronavirus.
Military planners and NHS officials held a meeting at the conference centre yesterday to discuss how it could be used, reported the Evening Standard.
“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,” said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson.
If it were to become a hospital, it could contain up to 4,000 beds and ease the strain on hospitals when the COVID-19 outbreak reaches its peak in the UK.
The venue opened in London’s docklands in 2000 and usually hosts a variety of conferences and trade shows. But with major events being cancelled all around the world it joins countless other large venues in having no events to host.
An official from NHS London said: “Because it’s doubling everywhere every few days, and because London is two weeks ahead of the rest of the country in the severity of the impact of the disease, the ExCeL is part of the plan because that doubling means we aren’t going to have the beds.”
According to The Telegraph, the ExCeL Centre is “one of many” venues earmarked as potential field hospitals that could be used during the current pandemic.
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