Prince Charles carries out first virtual Royal opening with NHS Nightingale Hospital

The newly converted NHS hospital for coronavirus patients will be officially opened on Friday by the Prince of Wales, even though he will be hundreds of miles away.

NHS Nightingale, inside the huge ExCel Conference Centre in East London, will provide an initial 500 beds to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Prince Charles will do the opening via video link, as he is recovering from his coronavirus diagnosis on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire.

It’s the first time a member of the Royal Family has performed an opening ceremony like this remotely.

It’s understood he will connect using the Zoom meeting application before handing over to the hospital’s Head of Nursing to unveil the plaque on his behalf.

Coronavirus has spread much faster in London than anywhere else in the country and the first batch of 500 beds are urgently needed in the capital.

On Thursday, the number of recorded deaths across the UK rose by the highest number yet in any 24-hour period.

The increase of 569 lives lost brought the nationwide total to 2,921.

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On Tuesday, the Prince, who was diagnosed with the virus last week, spoke of his admiration for the medics and staff who are “the backbone” of the NHS.

He said, on behalf of himself and the Duchess of Cornwall: “Our thoughts and prayers are very much with those marvellous people whose extraordinary skills and utter, selfless devotion to duty and the care of their patients make us so very proud.”

Prince Charles also said: “As a nation, we are faced by a profoundly challenging situation, which we are only too aware threatens the livelihoods, businesses and welfare of millions of our fellow citizens.”

The exhibition centre in London’s Docklands has been converted in a matter of days and has the potential to treat up to 4,000 patients.


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