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Army of 750,000 NHS volunteers start helping vulnerable from today

I’m ready to serve, let’s get started!’: Up to 75,000 NHS volunteers report for duty as they receive their first tasks to help 2.5m most at risk in battle against coronavirus pandemic

  • NHS received three times the number of volunteers it was hoping for 
  • They will have all been checked out by NHS Volunteer Service by end of today 
  • Recruits ‘report for duty’ then get an alert on GoodSAM app when there is a job 

An army of 750,000 volunteers are reporting for duty for the first time today to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus. 

The NHS Volunteer Service received three times the amount of applications they had hoped for in the largest call for volunteers since the Second World War. 

Applications had to be halted while officials ran checks on the three quarters of a million Britons who signed up to help.

But today they will be given their first jobs, which range from calling the elderly and vulnerable in isolation to driving patients to hospital. 

Volunteers can ‘report for duty’ to say they are available to help on the GoodSAM app, which alerts them when there is a job to do in their area. 

Many took proudly to social media to say they are ready for their first tasks. 

Many of the 750,000 NHS volunteers took proudly to social media to say they are ready for their first tasks today 

A woman called Amy from Dudley tweeted: ‘I am officially an NHS volunteer responder. There are loads of people near me doing the same as well! Catch me collecting prescriptions and checking on the elderly.’  

Lee Robinson said: ‘I’m up and running as an NHS Volunteer Responder, ready to collect and deliver medication and essentials to vulnerable members of my local community.’ 

A man called Richard shared a screen shot of his GoodSAM app and said: ‘I am a local responder for the sick, elderly and vulnerable or self-isolating during the covid 19 crisis woohoo!

‘I’m part of the 750,000 strong volunteer force in the UK working alongside the NHS Government and council teams to help and assist people in our local communities.’ 

Darren Mason posted: ‘My first day as a NHS volunteer responder #NHS #NotAllHeroesWearCapes #DoingMyPart.’  

Volunteers will be delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from hospital, making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home, and transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS

Celebrities Rita Ora and Love Island star Alexandra Crane have also signed up.

Rita’s mother Vera Sahatciu, 55, has returned to her job as a psychiatrist to help the NHS with those struggling mentally during the pandemic. The 29-year-old’s singer Elena, 31, has also offered to volunteer.  

Due to the huge response, NHS officials claim the volunteer force will come to the aid of 2.5million at-risk people in the coming weeks.  

Volunteers will be delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, bringing them home from hospital, making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home, and transporting medical supplies and equipment for the NHS.

Health professionals, pharmacists and local authorities can upload requests for help on the NHS Volunteer Responders referrer’s portal, and volunteers pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete. 

The NHS is using the GoodSAM app, which is usually used by regular NHS volunteers. 

Initial tasks will start buzzing on smart phones nationwide today with more expected over the coming weeks as referrals ramp up.   

Health professionals (Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust tweet pictured), pharmacists and local authorities can upload requests for help on the NHS Volunteer Responders referrer’s portal, and volunteers pick the job they want to do that day and close the task once complete

The Duchess of Cornwall, president of the Royal Voluntary Service, has thanked the 750,000 people who have volunteered to help and revealed she is one of them. 

The Duchess, 72, tested negative for coronavirus, but isolated for 14 days after her husband Charles contracted the Covid-19 illness.

Camilla said: ‘As the proud president of the Royal Voluntary Service, I wanted to send my warmest thanks to all the NHS Volunteer Responders who have come forward in unprecedented numbers to offer help to the NHS.

‘Royal Voluntary Service has been working with the NHS to recruit people in England who can assist those who are most in need of practical and emotional support at this time.

‘Thankfully, the charity has a long and remarkable history of bringing willing volunteers together with the isolated and lonely. That experience is needed more than ever in these challenging times.

‘And today many more NHS Volunteer Responders will get in touch with the people they have so kindly offered to help.

Celebrities Rita Ora (pictured with her mother Vera Sahatciu who has returned to work as a psychiatrist with the NHS) and Love Island star Alexandra Crane have also signed up 

Rita’s mother Vera Sahatciu, 55, has returned to her previous role in a bid to help those struggling with their mental health during these difficult times

‘Everyone working in the NHS is under unimaginable pressure day and night in this crisis.

‘I feel sure that the presence of so many wonderful volunteers will encourage, as well as support, them. I salute each one of you – and thank you with all my heart.’

NHS England said Camilla made a ‘check in and chat’ call with Doris Winfield, 85, from Rickmansworth, who has spent the last two weeks self-isolating.

While Ms Winfield has three daughters who she regularly speaks to, she lives alone and misses her friends and the active social life she used to enjoy.

She said the chat with Camilla ‘meant the world to me’, adding: ‘I’ve been incredibly lonely over the last couple of weeks and it was wonderful to talk to her.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has signed up as a volunteer after her own coronavirus scare. She is checking in on Doris Winfield, 85, from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire

‘We talked about life in isolation and shared hobbies, she was very interested in my family and how I was coping without them. It’s really cheered me up.’

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘The number of people who came forward to help some of the most vulnerable in their communities is truly extraordinary.

‘Today we begin to see the results of these tremendous acts of goodwill from the British public, with volunteers offering support to those who need it most.’

‘Tackling this unprecedented coronavirus challenge means all of us to pulling together, so on behalf of the NHS, thank you to everyone who is playing their part.’

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Lifestyle

BTS: ARMY Show Their Generosity and Donate Thousands of Dollars After James Corden's 'Homefest'

On March 30, 2020, BTS appeared on a primetime special episode of The Late Late Show Starring James Corden called “Homefest.” The group performed their 2019 hit “Boy With Luv,” and during the special Corden encouraged viewers to donate to two different charities, Feed the Children and The CDC Foundation. Following “Homefest,” BTS ARMY donated to the two organizations, raising thousands of dollars.

James Corden asked viewers of ‘Homefest’ to donate

The special featured musical artists and celebrities from their own homes and encouraged viewers to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Will Ferrell performed a skit about the importance of washing one’s hands, and David Blaine performed magic with Corden via FaceTime.

Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, and John Legend performed in Los Angeles, Dua Lipa performed in London, Andrea Bocelli performed from Italy, and BTS performed from South Korea. Ben Platt and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen ended the special with a performance of “You Will Be Found.”

Throughout the special, Corden encouraged viewers who were able to donate to Feed the Children and The CDC Foundation. Before “Homefest,” executive producers of The Late Late Show Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe released a joint statement about the special.

“Since ‘The Late Late Show’ came off the air, we have been thinking of different ways to try and make a show at this time,” said the executive producers. “We are going to try to put on the best show we can, to entertain, raise awareness, raise money and hopefully lift spirits.”

BTS ARMY donated to the charities after ‘Homefest’

Following “Homefest,” ARMY donated to Feed the Children and The CDC Foundation in BTS’s honor. As of April 4, 2020, 771 people have donated to The CDC Foundation as part of the BTS ARMY team.

Lysol is currently matching every dollar donated, so the 771 donations have raised $41,016 for The CDC Foundation. In total, the foundation’s campaign to combat the coronavirus has raised $18,589,362.

On April 1, 2020, Winston shared a special message for ARMY and thanked them for their generosity. The executive producer of The Late Late Show also said Feed the Children contacted him to let him know about BTS fans’ donations.

“BTS fans are so generous. We got an email today from @feedthechildren saying how generous they had been after #HomeFest thank you to the BTS army. #BTSHomeFest,” he tweeted.

The official Feed the Children Twitter account replied, “We appreciate everything the BTS community has done. #BTSHomeFest.”

This is not the first time BTS ARMY helped others

BTS fans are well known for their social media presence, but ARMY have shown time and time again they use their strength as a fandom to help others around the world. After BTS appeared on The Late Late Show on Jan. 28, 2020, ARMY donated to two different charities to honor Corden and Ashton Kutcher, who also appeared on the show that night.

To honor Corden, BTS fans donated to Magic Breakfast, a charity based in London that provides breakfast to disadvantaged children in the U.K. On Twitter, Magic Breakfast confirmed that fans’ donations ended up being enough to provide 36,271 breakfasts. In addition to Magic Breakfast, BTS ARMY donated to Thorn, an anti-human trafficking organization that Kutcher co-founded.

Suga of BTS donated 100 million won (around $83,000) to help with coronavirus relief efforts in his hometown, Daegu. Fans were inspired by his efforts, and proceeded to donate $333,000 to the Korea Disaster Relief Association. Some of those fan donations came from ticket refunds after Big Hit Entertainment canceled BTS’s concerts for their Map of the Soul Tour in Seoul.

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World News

Army helps finish building massive temporary hospital in London

Army join the front line in war on coronavirus as squaddies finish building emergency Nightingale Hospital in London ahead of first patients arriving TODAY

  • Soldiers helping build the London Nightingale hospital have compared the crisis to the Battle of the Somme 
  • Colonel Ashleigh Boreham, who has carried out two tours of Iraq, said it was the biggest mission of his career 
  • Built in around ten days, the east London hospital will have 4,000 beds for coronavirus patients when it opens
  • Up to 200 soldiers a day have been helping in the construction of the Docklands hospital at the ExCel centre 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Soldiers helping to build the Nightingale hospital in London last night compared the coronavirus crisis to the Battle of the Somme.

Colonel Ashleigh Boreham, who has carried out two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan, said it was the biggest mission of his career.

As commanding officer of 256 City of London Field Hospital, he is in charge of military personnel working on the NHS facility at the ExCeL centre.

Built in around ten days, it will have 4,000 beds for coronavirus patients when it opens this week. Similar hospitals are being installed in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow to ease pressure on existing sites.

Colonel Boreham, who has helped create field hospitals around the world, said: ‘We are building a hospital for people in our nation. You are saving people’s lives and they could be the lives of your families. It’s the biggest job I’ve ever done.

‘My grandfather was at the Somme, this is no different. I’m just at a different battle. I’m from London, I have friends and family in London. Many of the people working here, many of the soldiers working here, are from London.

‘We are doing this to save the lives of Londoners. These are our comrades, there’s no difference. It doesn’t matter if they are civilian or military.’

Built in around ten days, the Nightingale hospital in London will have 4,000 beds for coronavirus patients when it opens this week

Members of the Queen’s Gurkha Engineer Regiment, 36 Engineer Regiment as they help build Nightingale Hospital

Medical equipment is labelled and prepared for use by NHS staff at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital (pictured on Tuesday)

Up to 200 soldiers a day have been helping in the construction of the Docklands hospital. They are carrying out medical planning, logistics, engineering and tasks such as building beds, laying floors, and carrying out electrics and plumbing (pictured on Tuesday)


Colonel Ashleigh Boreham (left), who has carried out two tours of Iraq and one of Afghanistan, said transforming the conference centre into a hospital was the biggest mission of his career (right, medical equipment is labelled and prepared for use by NHS staff at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital)

Work continues at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital (pictured on Tuesday). The NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, has been created to help tackle coronavirus

He said the NHS, which is leading the project, and the military had ‘one single purpose, one single aim to save lives’. Colonel Boreham, who joined the Army in 1992, is due to retire in a few weeks and take up a job at an NHS clinical commissioning group.

The 54-year-old father of two said his wife was a front-line NHS worker and his daughter was volunteering to distribute food during the crisis.

Up to 200 soldiers a day have been helping in the construction of the Docklands hospital.

They are carrying out medical planning, logistics, engineering and tasks such as building beds, laying floors, and carrying out electrics and plumbing.

Sergeant Mark Anderson, 32, 1st Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment, is also on the project. He said: ‘It’s a new experience. It is an invisible enemy and we all need to work together to combat the outbreak. Everyone has been working flat out to the best of their ability to get this place up and running in the quickest possible time.’

More than 16,000 members of staff could be needed to run the temporary hospital if it reaches its near 4,000-bed capacity. It will be split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each.

The facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients transferred from intensive care units across London.

Chief operating officer Natalie Forrest said last night: ‘If we have to use this facility, which I really hope we don’t because everyone is staying home and washing their hands and social distancing, we will need thousands of doctors and nurses and volunteers. To run one ward we need 200 members of staff.’

The hospital will initially care for 42 patients as a trial run. 

The ExCeL London Centre is being refitted to create thousands of new beds for COVID-19 sufferers, complete with oxygen, ventilators and other key equipment in the battle against the deadly virus (pictured on Tuesday)

Natalie Forrest, Chief Operating Officer of the Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital – the NHS Nightingale hospital, comprising of two wards, each of 2,000 people, to help tackle coronavirus

Before the scale of the crisis became clear, the UK was believed to have had one of the lowest proportions of intensive care units in Europe, but NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens says 33,000 beds are now available for COVID-19 patients (pictured, the temporary hospital in east London on Tuesday)

Ventilators are stored and ready to be used by Coronavirus patients at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital

Medical equipment is labelled and prepared for use by NHS staff at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital

Medical staff in protective gear in the new Nightingale Hospital in the Excel Centre, Canning Town

Ventilators are stored and ready to be used by Coronavirus patients at the ExCel centre in London which is being made into a temporary hospital

CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL 24 PER CENT HIGHER WHEN NON-HOSPITAL VICTIMS INCLUDED 

The true death toll of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK could be 24 per cent higher than NHS figures show, according to statistics released today.

Patients who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificates numbered 210 in England and Wales up to March 20, the Office for National Statistics revealed.

This was 24 per cent higher than the 170 deaths recorded by NHS England and Public Health Wales during the same time frame. 

If the ratio has stayed true since that time, the true current number of fatalities could be around 1,739 instead of the official 1,408.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has launched a new data series adding in the numbers of people who have died with or after having COVID-19 in the community, including those who died in care homes or their own houses.

Coronavirus was not necessarily the cause of death for every one of the patients, but was believed to have been a factor.  

The data does not include Scotland or Northern Ireland – up to March 20, eight people had died in the those countries (six in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland), suggesting the true figure could have been 10. 

More than 16,000 members of staff could be needed to run London’s new NHS Nightingale Hospital to treat coronavirus patients should it reach full capacity. 

Split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each, the Nightingale will become one of the biggest hospitals in the world, according to Ms Forrest.

The facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units (ICU) across London.

Speaking to visiting reporters, Ms Forrest said a ‘scary’ number of staff would be needed to run the facility at full capacity and appealed for volunteers to come forward.

‘If we have to use this facility, which I really hope we don’t because everyone is staying home and washing their hands and social distancing, we will need thousands of doctors and nurses and volunteers to run this facility,’ she said.

Asked to clarify how many are required, Ms Forrest said: ‘The numbers are scary, but if I tell you that to run one ward, including all of our ancillary staff, we need 200 members of staff.’

The hospital will initially aim to care for 42 patients, before its expansion is ‘ramped up’ to ensure it can meet its full 4,000-bed capacity in two weeks’ time if needed, the Nightingale’s chief medical director Alan McGlennan said.

He said coronavirus patients who are transferred to the hospital will already be on a ventilator and will remain at the Nightingale until their course of ventilation is finished.

Coronavirus patients suffering from other serious conditions – such as cardiac issues – will be better cared for at other specialist centres, Mr McGlennan said.

While the Nightingale will be able to provide up to 4,000 ventilator beds if they are needed, NHS London will still have control over the ‘most precious resources’, he added.

Eamonn Sullivan, the hospital’s director of nursing, said the facility will be able to operate as a large intensive care unit or a normal ward, depending on demand.

The Nightingale will also include support services found in other NHS hospitals, such as pharmacies and therapy treatment, Mr Sullivan said.

The exhibition centre, in East London, will become the NHS Nightingale Hospital , creating an impressive 4,000 beds. Before the scale of the crisis became clear, the UK was believed to have had one of the lowest proportions of intensive care units in Europe, but NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens says 33,000 beds are now available for COVID-19 patients

More than 16,000 members of staff could be needed to run London’s new NHS Nightingale Hospital to treat coronavirus patients should it reach full capacity

Images from inside the new hospital showed military personnel help workers in erecting cubicles and carrying equipment into the transformed centre- which is set to hold up to 4,000 COVID-19 patients and will initially have 500 beds

The new 4,000-bed temporary facility at the ExCel convention centre in east London is due to open this week despite building work only starting last Wednesday

Split into more than 80 wards containing 42 beds each, the Nightingale will become one of the biggest hospitals in the world, according to its chief operating officer Natalie Forrest

STATISTICS REVEAL DETAILS OF FIRST 108 UK COVID-19 DEATHS 

Three quarters of the UK’s first coronavirus fatalities were over the age of 75, according to official statistics. 

Details of the first 108 people to die from COVID-19 in England and Wales have emerged today in figures revealing deaths outside of NHS hospitals for the first time.

They show that 59 per cent of the victims up to March 20 were male, a total of 64 out of 108, while 44 women died.

Only one person under the age of 44 was counted among the fatalities and 73 per cent (79 people) were over the age of 75.

The numbers, published by the Government’s Office for National Statistics, revealed that the true death toll of the virus may be 24 per cent higher than NHS data shows.

The ONS recorded 210 deaths up to and including March 20 in England and Wales, during which time the Department of Health tallied only 170.

The higher figure includes anyone who had COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate, whether it was a direct cause of death or not. Some may not have even been tested. 

Statistics show the majority of the first coronavirus deaths in England and Wales were among people aged over 85.

There were 45 deaths among over-85s; 34 deaths in the 75-84 age group; 21 deaths between 65 and 74; seven for 45 to 64-year-olds; and one between 15 and 44. There were none among children. 

The single hardest-hit age group was men over 85, among whom there were 27 fatalities. There were 20 among men aged 75-84, and 18 for female over-85s.

Meanwhile, staff working at the Nightingale will be able to sleep at nearby hotels once they finish their shift, Mr Sullivan said.

‘We have got the facility here at ExCel and there is many, many thousands of hotel rooms. It is a perfect location,’ he said.

‘If staff wanted to stay, they could stay, so it is optional. But if they want to go home, then they can.’

An NHS England spokesman said the equipment being used at the Nightingale was all ‘new kit’ and had not been borrowed from other hospitals.

The Guardian reported earlier this week that the temporary London hospital has been built to treat people who are at a lower risk of dying from the disease, so it will mostly treat the Capital’s younger patients who were healthy before the outbreak. 

Older patients or those who are at a higher risk of death will be treated at NHS hospitals around London.  

A senior doctor with knowledge of the government’s planned response told the paper: ‘There is a two-tier system but it’s a medically appropriate two-tier system,.

‘The sick will go to the ExCel and the very sick will stay in hospital, because that’s an appropriate use of NHS resources.

‘Anyone who goes to either place will be critically ill, be suffering lung failure and be on life support through a ventilator. But those at the ExCel will be those needing less life support as they will be the ones with nothing else wrong with them,’ the doctor added.

A retired nurse from Northern Ireland will go back to work on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic to head the UK’s new mega hospital at ExCel.  

Deirdre Barr, 62, will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London, which is preparing to house thousands of COVID-19 patients. 

Barr, from Bogside, has served the NHS for 40 years, after joining as a St John Ambulance cadet. 

She will now leave her home in Kent to work at the new hospital amid the global pandemic. 

The facility will be used to treat Covid-19 patients who have been transferred from other intensive care units (ICU) across London

Soldiers arrive at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre in Newham, East London, today as the hospital gears up to receive its first patients next week 

Pictured: A firefighter stands outside the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at ExCeL London, as the country tries to cope with the number of coronavirus patients 

 The new hospital in London will comprise of two wards which will each be able to house 2,000 sick patients 

Her sister Dolores, 74, said that although the family were concerned for Barr, they were extremely proud of her decision. 

‘This is a massive job, and we’re scared for Deirdre, but we are so very proud that she has taken it on. If anyone can do this, Deirdre can. She’s always been the one person her whole family turns to in times of trouble and sickness.

‘Now the whole of the UK will be turning to her. She’ll handle it well. She has broad shoulders and never shirks from responsibility.

‘This job is going to ask an awful lot of her but we know she’ll face it head on. The pictures we are seeing of the Nightingale Hospital are terrifying but our Deirdre will take it all in her stride,’ she told the Daily Mirror. 

It comes as NHS nurses from all over the UK are sent to London as the capital is set to be struck by a ‘tsunami’ of cases in the coming weeks. 

Air cabin crew will join doctors and nurses in staffing the new Nightingale hospitals built to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the NHS has said.

Staff at Virgin Atlantic and EasyJet have been invited to volunteer at the new 4,000-bed clinic being built at the Excel centre in east London, and those planned in Birmingham and Manchester.

Their salaries will continue to be paid by the airlines as an astonishing 750,000 other Britons joined the NHS volunteer army in just five days. 

Many first-aid trained cabin crew across the world have been grounded as countries have closed borders and cancelled flights amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Statistics released this morning revealed basic details about the first 108 people in Britain to have COVID-19 mentioned on their death certificate. Elderly people and men were the worst affected, the data showed

By March 20, the coronavirus had become a contributing factor or direct cause in one in every 100 deaths in the UK, according to the latest date from the Office for National Statistics

The number of Brits who have been admitted to hospital with coronavirus has now almost reached 10,000, since the outbreak began to take hold in early March 

Charts from Public Health England show how the UK’s outbreak compares to other countries battling similar situations. Despite being published today in the Downing Street press conference, it does not include the most up-to-date figures

London has recorded the most coronavirus-related deaths so far, followed by the South East and West Midlands, according to official statistics

Deirdre Barr, 62, (pictured) will come out of retirement to work as director of operations at the new Nightingale Hospital in East London

WHERE ARE THE UK CORONAVIRUS HOTSPOTS? 

By total cases

EasyJet has already written to its 9,000 UK-based staff including 4,000 cabin crew trained in CPR to invite them to give their time to the NHS.

Virgin Atlantic will begin writing to 4,000 of its employees on Monday and will prioritise getting in touch with those who already have the required skills.

Those who join up will be given expert training and will then perform support roles such as changing beds under the guidance of trained nurses.

St John’s Ambulance have already said that hundreds of people will give their time at the first Nightingale hospital in London.

Corneel Koster, chief customer officer at Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘We are grateful to the NHS for everything they are doing in extremely challenging circumstances and we’re committed to doing all we can to support the national effort against the rapid acceleration of Covid-19.’

EasyJet has said it is ‘proud’ its staff can support medics at this ‘crucial time’.

Tina Milton, director of cabin services, added: ‘The NHS is at the forefront of dealing with this health emergency but the training and skills our cabin crew have, working closely with the medical professionals, could help make a real difference.’

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said the NHS needs ‘all the support we can get’.

She added: ‘Thousands of nurses, medics and other expert staff are returning to work alongside us, but we need everyone to do their bit – whether that is working in one of our current health or social care services, working in the Nightingale Hospital, volunteering to help the NHS or following government advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Earlier this week grim photos revealed the refrigerated morgue inside the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at London’s ExCel Centre.  

Pictures showed huge refrigerator units and rows of beds for the bodies of those killed by Covid-19 during the pandemic.    

Soldiers roll out mats and assist in the final preparations for the new field hospital in London as the country continues to control the coronavirus outbreak

A planning meeting is underway as staff from the Royal Anglian Regiment and the Queen’s Gurkha Engineer Regiment arrive to the centre to help 

Soldiers help transform the exhibition centre into the new Nightingale Hospital as the nation tries to cope with the rising number of Covid-19 patients

Soldiers help lay the flooring down as the new NHS Nightingale Hospital prepares for its first patients next week 

Soldiers help put up cubicles inside the new field hospital as the exhibition centre prepares for its first patients on April 4

Pictured: The units being used to cool the morgue at the Nightingale hospital which has been founded to cope with the coronavirus pandemic

Pictured: The morgue that has been installed at the ExCel Centre in East London, which has become the Nightingale hospital

Incredible images from inside the ExCel Centre show construction work to transform the exhibition centre into London’s emergency coronavirus hospital is underway 

Work has also begun to transform the Welsh rugby stadium into a 500-bed hospital for coronavirus patients.   

The rugby union stadium in Wales is the latest venue to be turned into a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients, with Parc y Scarlets expected to be operational in two weeks and provide up to 500 extra beds.

Work began last Monday to convert three areas of the stadium complex in Llanelli for medical use as the Scarlets work in partnership with the Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council.

The Juno Moneta Arena training facility will house 252 beds, while there will also be a hospital area in the Quinnell Lounge in the South Stand and the first-floor concourse.

The beds in Llanelli are in addition to around 2,000 which are set to be installed at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff as Wales prepares itself for the peak of the pandemic.

The Welsh locations will join others being be built inside UK venues including the SEC in Glasgow, Manchester Central Convention Complex, Birmingham’s NEC and the new NHS Nightingale hospital at ExCel in London.  

The news comes as a record-breaking 381 coronavirus deaths and 3,009 cases were declared in the UK yesterday, on what was Britain’s darkest day so far in the ever-worsening crisis. 

Some 1,789 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have now died, while the total infection toll has surpassed 25,000 – but the true size of the outbreak remains a mystery because of the UK’s controversial policy to only test patients in hospital.

The number of new deaths recorded yesterday was twice as high as the 180 victims recorded on Monday. But there was only a 14 per cent jump in daily cases – up from 2,619.

And the number of hospital admissions appears to have slowed, going up by a ‘constant amount’ each day, data shows – with around 1,000 new patients a day being treated by the NHS. 

One of Tuesday’s victims was only 19 years old and had no underlying conditions that made them more vulnerable to the life-threatening complications of the illness. MailOnline understands their death was recorded at North Middlesex University Hospital in Enfield, north London.

A 13-year-old London schoolboy was revealed last night to have become Britain’s youngest coronavirus victim. 

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, London, died alone at King’s College Hospital in London on Monday, with family members unable to visit him in fear of catching the deadly virus. He is not thought to have had any underlying health conditions.

News of Ismail’s death was shared on a GoFundMe page created by Madinah College, in Brixton, to raise money for his funeral and was later confirmed by King’s College Hospital. 

The boy’s family, who also recently lost his father to cancer, said they would not be releasing any photos of Ismail and that they were ‘beyond devastated’.  

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World News

Army of over 750,000 coronavirus volunteers sign up to help NHS workers in incredible display of public spirit – The Sun

AN ARMY of over 750,000 coronavirus volunteers have signed up to help NHS workers in an incredible display of public spirit.

Communities minister Robert Jenrick revealed so many had signed up they'd had to pause recruitment.

 Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Mr Jenrick was speaking at the Government’s daily coronavirus press conference.

He said: “We've all been moved by the number of people who've signed up to be one of the NHS volunteers.

"When this is done, and it will be done, we all want to be proud of the part we've played together.

"Nobody's pretending this will be over in a few weeks.

"If we all play our part, if we all follow the very clear medical advice, then we can turn the tide of this virus."

It comes as the UK coronavirus death toll rose to 1,228 after 209 more deaths were announced today.

There are currently 19,522 in Britain who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Yesterday the head of NHS England warned Britain would have done "very well" if there are less than 20,000 coronavirus deaths.

Stephen Powis urged Brits not to be "complacent" and said we must lock down to save lives and beat the killer disease.

The NHS England medical director said: "If we can keep deaths below 20,000 we will have done very well in this epidemic.

"If we do reduce the levels to below the level which we thought, that won't be because we are somehow lucky, it won't be because the virus is somehow acting differently in this country.

"It will be because the British public complied with the advice given."

This week, the Prime Minister will send a letter to all British households,  warning the situation will "get worse before it gets better".

Boris, who is self isolating after testing positive for covid-19 wrote: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better.

“But we are making the right preparations and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal.”

He also warns that further lockdown measures could be enforced if needed, writing: "We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”


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Army of 170,000 coronavirus volunteers sign up overnight to join NHS workers on frontline hours after Government call – The Sun

AN army of more than 170,000 heroic Brits have signed up overnight to join NHS workers on the coronavirus frontline – after the government's call to arms.

The NHS boss said this morning he had been "bowled over" by the amazing response from the public to help fight the killer virus.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates



Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, told BBC Breakfast there had been "outbreaks of altruism and people wanting to help".

He said: "Overnight 170,000 people have signed up – that's three a minute to help the NHS," he said. "It's an absolutely astonishing response.

"This is a health emergency, we can all play a role in ensuring we get on top of coronavirus and at the same time expand capacity in the NHS."

Last night fit and healthy Brits were last night urged to sign up to a 250,000-strong National Help Service – and they responded in huge numbers.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants volunteers to deliver medicine and supplies to 1.4million vulnerable patients isolating at home from Covid-19.

Yesterday the UK death toll climbed 87 to 422 — the highest daily total so far — with 8,077 confirmed cases.

NHS leaders warned London could run out of intensive care beds in just four days, while ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said there could be one million cases by next week.

Most Brits followed new lockdown rules yesterday. And couples were told to move in together or go celibate.

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Taliban attacks kill 20 army, police, hours after Trump call

US launches airstrikes on Taliban fighters who killed 20 Afghan soldiers in overnight attacks – hours after Donald Trump had a ‘good talk’ with their top negotiator following historic peace deal

  • US launch airstrike against Taliban after insurgent attack on Afghan forces
  • Taliban militants had killed at least 20 Afghan soldiers and police officers
  • String of overnight attacks launched hours after Trump spoke to Taliban chief 
  • Fighters attacked at least three army outposts in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz
  • Insurgents also attacked police in central Uruzgan province on Tuesday night

The US launched an airstrike today against Taliban fighters in retaliation for the killing of at least 20 Afghan soldiers and policemen in a string of attacks.

It was the first strike by American forces since a troop withdrawal agreement was signed between the two sides on Saturday as part of a historic peace deal. 

Taliban militants killed Afghan soldiers and police officers on Tuesday night, just hours after President Trump said he had a ‘very good’ chat with their political chief.

The militants have ramped up violence against Afghan security forces in recent days, ending a partial truce put in place during the run-up to a landmark US-Taliban withdrawal deal signed in Doha on Saturday.

Insurgents launched attacks on at least three army posts in Kunduz and attacked police in central Uruzgan province on Tuesday night.

In response the Pentagon launched a strike in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, a US forces spokesman said today.

Afghan Taliban fighters and villagers attend a gathering in Alingar district of Laghman Province on the day the militants said they were resuming operations against Afghan government targets

Afghan Taliban militants and villagers celebrating the peace deal and their victory in the Afghan conflict on US in Afghanistan, in Alingar district of Laghman Province on Monday 

US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Sonny Leggett tweeted: ‘The US conducted an airstrike on March 4 against Taliban fighters in Nahr-e Saraj, Helmand, who were actively attacking an #ANDSF checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack.’ 

Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first US president believed to have ever spoken directly with the militant group responsible for the deaths of thousands of US troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan. 

A defence ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the Afghan army death toll last in the recent attacks night, while the provincial police spokesman Hejratullah Akbari confirmed the police fatalities. 

Safiullah Amiri, a member of the provincial council, said: ‘Taliban fighters attacked at least three army outposts in Imam Sahib district of Kunduz last night, killing at least 10 soldiers and four police.’

The insurgents also attacked police in central Uruzgan province on Tuesday night, with the governor’s spokesman Zergai Ebadi saying: ‘Unfortunately, six police were killed and seven wounded.’

The violence has cast a pall on the nascent Afghan peace process, with the insurgents clashing with Kabul over a prisoner exchange ahead of talks that are due to begin on March 10.

On Tuesday Trump told reporters in Washington that he had a ‘very good’ relationship with Taliban political chief Mullah Baradar, with the pair speaking on the phone for 35 minutes, according to the insurgents.

President Trump had sharp words for the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, suggesting they were doing well financially from the prolonged presence of American troops

Afghan Taliban militants and villagers in Alingar district of Laghman Province on Monday. The Taliban said they were resuming offensive operations against Afghan security forces, ending the partial truce that preceded the signing of a deal between the insurgents and Washington

‘The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah. We had a good long conversation today and you know, they want to cease the violence, they’d like to cease violence also,’ he said.

Trump has touted the Doha deal as a way to end the bloody, 18-year US military presence in Afghanistan – right in time for his November re-election bid.

Under the terms of the deal, US and other foreign forces will quit Afghanistan within 14 months, subject to Taliban security guarantees and a pledge by the insurgents to hold talks with the national government in Kabul.

The agreement also includes a commitment to exchange 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government in return for 1,000 captives – something the militants have cited as a prerequisite for talks but which President Ashraf Ghani has refused to do before negotiations start.

Trump said the Taliban and Washington both ‘have a very common interest’ in ending the war.

He had sharper words for Ghani’s government, however, suggesting they might be ‘reluctant’ to pursue a deal.

Afghan civil society activists holding banners in Dari that reads: ‘We cannot forget the court-martials, Taliban crime in Afghanistan, Taliban group are the factor of destruction and genocide’ as they chanted slogans against the US agreement with the Taliban

‘They’ve done very well with the United States for many years — far beyond military if you look at all the money that we spent in Afghanistan,’ he said.

Since Saturday’s deal signing, the Taliban have been publicly claiming ‘victory’ over the US and on Monday they announced they would resume attacks on Afghan national forces.

The halt to the limited truce, which began on February 22, ended what was a welcome reprieve for ordinary Afghans who have born the brunt of the deadly violence.

Ghani’s government last week sent a delegation to Qatar to open ‘initial contacts’ with the insurgents, but Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Tuesday said the militants would not meet Kabul’s representatives except to discuss the release of their captives.

Apparent differences between the Doha agreement and a separate joint US-Afghan declaration made in Afghanistan underline the obstacles facing negotiators.

The US-Taliban deal committed to the release of prisoners, while the Kabul document only required both sides to determine ‘the feasibility of releasing’ captives.

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