NHS chief says over 9,000 coronavirus patients are in hospital

Modesto Morganelli
Marzo 31, 2020

The ExCel hospital, with an initial 500 beds but capacity for 4,000, is the first of three new Nightingale hospitals being built in England to tackle the pandemic - the other two are in Birmingham and Manchester.

"Cabin crew are in a good position to help because of the first aid training we receive for our job along with the security checks we undergo", said Ashley Brown, a flight attendant for EasyJet, in a statement.

Virgin Atlantic - which plans to park 85 percent of its planes in April and has asked staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave - will make the request to about 4,000 workers starting Monday, according to the NHS.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer Officer at Virgin Atlantic said: "We are very grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we're committed to doing all we can to support the national effort against the rapid acceleration of Covid-19".

Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Services for easyJet, said: "We have all needed the NHS at some point in our lives and so we are so proud that our crew can now help to support the NHS at this crucial time". The budget airline grounded all of its planes Monday and furloughed those cabin workers, who will get 80 percent of their average pay under the United Kingdom government's job retention program.

Staff and volunteers at the NHS field hospitals will get free accommodations, officials said. Others are expected to be opened elsewhere in the United Kingdom once the NHS secures suitable sites.

England's chief nursing officer, Ruth May, said: "The NHS is mobilising like never before but the scale of this challenge has not been seen in peacetime, so we need all the support we can get".

Britain's temporary hospitals are seeking volunteers from airlines, calling on cabin crew members who are now grounded to use their first-aid skills and calm manner to help get the new Nightingale hospitals up and running.

So far, 750,000 people have signed up to join the NHS's "volunteer army" and carry out roles including transporting discharged patients home from hospitals; delivering food and other supplies to those who are self-isolating; and transporting medication and equipment between NHS sites.

Doctors and nurses who recently left the profession are also being invited back to work within the NHS.

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