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Britain to build two further temporary coronavirus hospitals

Members of the Military outside the NHS Nightingale hospital as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, London, Britain April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will build a further two temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients, the National Health Service (NHS) said on Friday as its first field hospital prepares to open in London.

Britain is bracing itself for the peak of a virus outbreak which has claimed nearly 3,000 lives domestically and more than 48,000 around the world.

The NHS said it would build a 1,000-patient facility at a university in Bristol, south-west England, and a 500-bed facility at a conference centre in Harrogate in the north of the country.

That means it is now planning to open five field hospitals in the coming weeks. The first, the NHS Nightingale in east London, is due to be officially opened on Friday, and will receive its first patients next week.

Named after nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale who tended to British soldiers in the Crimean War, the hospital has been built inside a cavernous conference centre in just two weeks, with help from the military.

Other temporary hospitals in Manchester and Birmingham will provide up to 3,000 beds in total.

(This story removes extraneous word in headline)

Reporting by William James, editing by Estelle Shirbon