More than 5,000 people have been infected by coronavirus in the UK, leading to the deaths of 233 people. With the deadly virus, which originated in China, already putting pressure on the NHS, the health service has now signed a huge deal with private hospitals. The deal will see the health service across England receive 20,000 staff, 8,000 beds, 1,200 ventilators, and 700 doctors to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
In London, the agreement includes more than 2,000 hospital beds and over 250 operating theatres and critical beds.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate practically its entire national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS.
“It will be reimbursed, at cost – meaning no profit will be made for doing so.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said they were dealing with an “unprecedented global health threat.”
He said: “The NHS is doing everything in its power to expand treatment capacity, and is working with partners right across the country to do so.
“But it is absolutely vital that this is matched by successful and comprehensive adoption of the public measures needed to cut the spread of the virus.
“We all have to play our part to help offset the enormous pressure that our nurses, doctors and other specialists will otherwise face.”
The NHS is facing huge pressure already due to the impact of the deadly coronavirus.
David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said: “Independent hospitals are boosting emergency capacity to put at the disposal of the NHS over these coming weeks.
“We have worked hand-in-hand with the NHS for decades and will do whatever it takes to support the NHS in responding to this pandemic.”
Heartbreaking reports have emerged from Italy of the country’s healthcare system becoming overwhelmed due to the deadly virus.
Thousands of people have died in Italy, which has the biggest death toll around the globe, overtaking China last week.
And, its healthcare system was unable to cope with the influx of thousands of coronavirus cases – which left doctors facing tough choices at times on which patients would be given critical care.
On Saturday, Italy reported another 546 deaths from Coronavirus in the region of Lombardy, the highest count in a region in a single day.
More than 4,000 people have been killed by coronavirus in Italy – with over 47,000 cases recorded.
But, China has recorded far more cases of the deadly virus, over 81,000 compared to Italy announcing more than 47,000 cases.
It comes as Boris Johnson announced stricter measures in the UK on Friday as Britain tries to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The Prime Minister told pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas and leisure centres to shut – to try to stop the gathering of people.
Mr Johnson said: “You may be tempted to go out tonight and I say to you please don’t, you may think that you are invincible…But you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on”.
The Government also announced huge funding to try to help business and workers deal with the crisis.
In a move previously deemed unthinkable for a Conservative government, Rishi Sunak said employers would be able to apply to HM Revenue and Customs to cover 80 percent of the wages of staff they keep on up to £2,500 a month.
It came after a major London hospital temporarily declared a “critical incident” due to an upsurge in coronavirus admissions.
In a message to staff, Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow said that it did not have enough space for patients requiring critical care.