ExCel Centre to become coronavirus field hospital

As exams and other events are cancelled, the exhibition centre will act as an emergency medical facility

It has been announced that the ExCel Centre in East London, a space UCL students are familiar with as their usual exam venue, will become a temporary NHS coronavirus field hospital within days.

This news comes after UCL officially announced that in-person exams were to be replaced by online alternatives this year, as well as the cancellation of all first year exams in light of recent social distancing measures.

The space, which has been dubbed the ‘Nightingale Hospital’ will initially provide 500 beds, along with oxygen and ventilators. It has been planned that the eventual capacity for patients will reach around 4000.

NHS staff will be helped in this venture by the military, who have previously visited the venue.

The UCL students we spoke to were surprised, but could appreciate the decision. One student said that “our physical exams are being cancelled for the greater good at least” and another commented that “that would be such a good idea to be honest”.

Others simply struggled to get to grips with the current state of the world, with one student responding “what is happeninggg” upon hearing this news.

As some have pointed out and many of us understand, such measures are important and it is comforting to hear that the NHS will have more space to treat coronavirus patients in the coming weeks and months.

It is also nice to know that, with UCL suspending in-person examinations this summer, the ExCel centre will still be put to good (and better!) use by playing this important role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.