Covid-19 daily briefing: Plans announced for new hospital and recruiting thousands of retired and trainee medics to the front line

By Ben Fitzgerald - 24 March 2020


In the Government’s daily briefing, health secretary Matt Hancock said the steps outlined by the prime minister on Monday "are not requests, they are rules".

A new hospital is to be established in the ExCeL centre, an exhibition centre in east London, he said.

The new NHS Nightingale Hospital will consist of two wards and hold up to 4,000 patients, Mr Hancock says.

In response to the UK's call for retired medics to return to the NHS, Mr Hancock says more than 11,500 have come forward, including 2,660 doctors and 6,147 nurses.

More than 18,000 medical students will also join the NHS workforce.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.

He said: "everyone has a responsibility to follow those rules" and calls on the country to come together in the national effort.

On Monday evening, 27 million TV viewers watched Mr Johnson tell the country it was facing a "moment of national emergency" and that staying at home was necessary to protect the NHS, save lives and tackle "the biggest threat this country has faced for decades".

Police and local authorities will have powers to disperse gatherings, including through fines.

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