Prince Charles opens new London hospital for virus patients
LONDON: Prince carlos He remotely opened a vast one at London's main exhibition center on Friday, as the number of reports in the UK exceeded China's official total.
While confirmed virus cases and deaths continued to rise sharply, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he remained isolated with a fever eight days after testing positive for the new virus.
Charles, who completed a week of self-isolation on Monday while recovering from COVID-19, said via video link that he was greatly touched to be asked to open the new Nightingale Hospital, which was built in just nine days in the Vast ExCel conference center in East London, with corridors stretching a full kilometer (just over half a mile).
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It opens with around 500 beds, but when it reaches its full expected capacity of 4,000 beds, it will be the UK's largest hospital facility.
Charles, 71, paid tribute to everyone, including military personnel, involved in its spectacular and almost incredible construction.
An example, if ever necessary, of how the impossible could be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity, he said from his home in Scotland, Birkhall.
The new National Health Service hospital will only serve people with COVID-19, and patients will only be assigned there after their local London hospital reaches capacity.
Charles described himself as one of the lucky ones with mild symptoms, but noted that for some it will be a much more difficult journey.
He expressed his hope that the hospital will be necessary for the shortest possible time and for the fewest number of people possible.
The hospital is named after Florence Nightingale, who is widely regarded as the founder of modern nursing. She was in charge of caring for British and allied soldiers during the Crimean War of the 1850s, and her selfless care earned her the reputation of the Lamp Lady.
New hospitals across the UK, including Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester, are being planned to ease pressure on the NHS during the pandemic.
In these difficult times with this invisible killer stalking the entire world, the fact that we have the NHS in this country is even more valuable than before, said Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who also hired COVID-19 and left his own self-isolation on Thursday.
Hancock said the peak of the epidemic in Britain will likely occur in the coming weeks and could be next weekend.
The number of virus-related deaths in Britain has increased dramatically in the past two weeks. Government figures provided on Friday showed that a total of 3,605 people who tested positive have died in British hospitals, an increase of 684 from the previous day.
The updated government count would make the UK the last country with a higher number of deaths from the global pandemic than China, which according to a count by Johns Hopkins University officially reported 3,326 deaths from the outbreak that emerged there in December.
Buckingham Palace said Charles's 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II mother recorded a speech to the nation and the Commonwealth about the coronavirus pandemic to be broadcast on Sunday.
Like many other countries, Britain is in an effective shutdown, with bars and nonessential shops closed to reduce the transmission rate, in the hope that this will eventually reduce the spike in deaths.
In a video message, the prime minister warned people not to break self-isolation rules on what is expected to be a warm and sunny weekend.
Johnson acknowledged that everyone may be a little crazy, but he urged the British not to ignore the rules against meeting in groups. He said that the country has made a great effort, a great sacrifice and that people should follow the rules to save lives.
Johnson, who appeared flushed and red-eyed in the video, has been working since quarantine in his Downing Street apartment since testing positive on March 26. Continue to hold daily meetings on the virus crisis by video conference.
Johnson said Friday that although he felt better, he still had a fever and was following instructions to stay isolated until his temperature returned to normal.