UK reopens field hospitals as COVID-19 cases surge

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With coronavirus cases surging and hospitals straining under the pressure, the UK is reactivating emergency hospitals built at the start of the pandemic.

More than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for each of the last four days as the new variant of the virus continued its rapid spread. The country’s National Health Service expects a new surge of patients following the holidays, with nearly 24,000 already in the hospital.

Scientists confirmed that the new variant of the coronavirus caused the spread to increase by a factor of three, The Guardian reported.

Sky News is reporting crammed hospitals with patients being left in hallways and makeshift wards, or waiting hours in ambulances for care because of a lack of beds.

The temporary “Nightingale” hospitals built by the military at convention centers and similar spots were barely used earlier in the pandemic, but remained on standby. Yet even as the government said the hospitals would be brought back to service, The Royal College of Nursing warned that the country does not have enough nurses to staff the sites, especially with many sick with the virus or forced to isolate.

The first case of the UK variant in the US was found last week.

The UK government also decided to close all London primary schools, reversing a decision made two days earlier to keep them open, Reuters reported. “Children’s education and wellbeing remains a national priority,” Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said. “Moving further parts of London to remote education really is a last resort and a temporary solution.”

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