Swift progress is being made as the military works to convert London's Excel Centre into a temporary coronavirus hospital, pictures taken by Boris Johnson's official photographer reveal.

It was announced on Tuesday that work had begun in turning the 70,000 visitor capacity convention centre, into a 4,000 bed field hospital with two wards - it is hoped 500 of those beds will be available this week.

On Saturday afternoon, government officials said the hospital will be ready to take up to 500 patients from next week. It will then be able to ramp up its services to full capacity in the coming weeks.

Photographs, taken by Downing Street photographer Andrew Parsons, showed the facility was well on its way to becoming the new 'NHS Nightingale Hospital'.

Military personnel and contractors are working to convert the Excel Centre into a temporary hospital. Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

The convention centre in east London’s Docklands, which hosts events such as London Bridal Fashion Week and MCM Comic Con, has already been gutted out and inside is beginning to take shape, while the outside now has NHS branding.

Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said building new hospitals in "very short order" was an "extraordinary action" part of the UK's "unprecedented response" to coronavirus.

Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

He also also given the "go ahead" to the building of two further NHS Nightingale hospitals in Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and Manchester's Central Convention Centre.

He said new hospitals were being converted because this problem is "not just confined to London" and he said there would be “further such hospitals to follow”.

Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

NHS England’s national medical director Stephen Powis said the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London was an "extraordinary feat".

“From a standing start a day or two ago a hospital will be built that will be able to take its first patients at the start of next week,” he said.

Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street
Credit: Andrew Parsons/Downing Street

Scotland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood also claimed sites in Scotland - where there have been 894 positive tests, and 25 deaths - were "absolutely" being considered.

Ambulances have already started lining up outside the new hospital. Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"We have had quite detailed discussions very recently and I know that there are sites being considered in Scotland this week," she told BBC Scotland.

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