Nightingale Hospitals ordered to reopen as Government warns Covid second wave could be more deadly

12 October 2020, 12:58 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 13:12

Nightingale Hospitals are on stand by to reopen
Nightingale Hospitals are on stand by to reopen. Picture: PA Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Government officials have warned deaths will rise as more people are admitted to hospital with coronavirus.

An expert has revealed three NHS Nightingale hospitals will be mobilised again, as deaths from coronavirus are sadly set to rise over the next few weeks.

NHS England’s Professor Stephen Powis spoke at a Downing Street briefing today, where he said that temporary Nightingale hospitals are being told to get ready to take patients.

He also said there would be increased testing of health staff in areas with the highest cases, explaining: “To protect our staff and our patients we will be introducing – with tests provided by the Test and Trace service – regular testing for staff in these high-risk areas, even when they don’t have symptoms.

Nightingale Hospitals are on stand by to reopen in the North
Nightingale Hospitals are on stand by to reopen in the North. Picture: PA Images

“This will help us keep staff and patients in those hospitals as safe as possible.

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“Secondly, we have asked the Nightingale hospitals in Manchester, Sunderland and Harrogate to prepare for this next phase.

“They are being asked to mobilise over the next few weeks to be ready to accept patients if necessary.”

Government medic Professor Jonathan Van-Tam also spoke at the meeting, warning that the number of patients in hospital with COVID is now higher than before the blanket lockdown in March.

He said: "The hospital admissions we have now actually relate to a time when there fewer cases of Covid-19.

"Already, with the cases that we know about, we have baked in additional hospital admissions and sadly we also have baked in additional deaths that are now consequent upon infections that have already happened."

Prof Van-Tam warned the virus is spreading quickly among younger people across the country, who are then passing it to those aged of 60.

He continued: "There is the spread from those younger age groups into the 60 plus age group in the North West and the North East, and there are rates of change in the same places but also extending a little further south.

Boris Johnson will announce his new lockdown today
Boris Johnson will announce his new lockdown today. Picture: PA Images

"And this is again of significant concern... because of course the elderly suffer a much worse course with Covid-19, they are admitted to hospital for longer periods, and they are more difficult to save."

This comes as Boris Johnson gets set to unveil the government's 'traffic light' coronavirus lockdown system later today.

The Prime Minister was holding a Cobra emergency meeting this morning to finalise the plan and will then confirm the crackdown in a statement to the Commons.

The plans state that areas will be labelled as medium, high or very high risk, with restrictions imposed based on this.

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