UK reactivates emergency COVID-19 hospitals

Britain on Friday reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and shut primary schools in London - one of the areas worst-hit by a more infectious variant of the coronavirus.

With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the last four days, the health service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more hospital beds.

The announcement comes just days after the Royal London Hospital told staff in an email it was now in "disaster medicine mode" and unable to provide high standard critical care.

The temporary 'Nightingale' hospitals at locations such as convention centers have barely been used since the start of the outbreak, but have remained on standby.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, the country does not have enough nurses to staff the new sites, especially with many sick with the virus or forced to isolate.

On schooling, the government said it had to shut all primary schools in London following a review of the transmission rates.

…A last-minute move that the opposition Labour Party said would cause chaos for parents.

Video Transcript

REPORTER: Britain, on Friday, reactivated emergency hospitals built at the start of the pandemic and shut primary schools in London, one of the areas worst hit by a more infectious variant of the coronavirus. With more than 50,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the last four days, the Health Service said it was preparing for an anticipated rush of patients and needed more hospital beds. The announcement comes just days after the Royal London Hospital told staff in an email it was now in disaster medicine mode and unable to provide high standard critical care.

The temporary Nightingale hospitals at locations such as convention centers have barely been used since the start of the outbreak but have remained on standby. According to the Royal College of Nursing, the country does not have enough nurses to staff the new sites, especially with many sick with the virus or forced to isolate. On schooling, the government said it had shut all primary schools in London following a review of the transmission rates, a last minute move that the opposition Labor Party said would cause chaos for parents.