The London NHS Nightingale hospital will be placed “on standby” with no new coronavirus admissions expected in the coming days, Downing Street has said.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said the decision was due to limited demand for its services, adding: “It’s not likely that in the coming days we will need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale while coronavirus in the capital remains under control.

“That’s obviously a very positive thing and we remain grateful to everybody in London for following the government’s advice in helping to protect the NHS.

“What the Nightingale will be is effectively placed on standby so it would be ready to receive patients should that be required, but we are not anticipating that will be the case.”

Giving an update on the Nightingale programme in England, the spokesman said: “Manchester has taken some patients already; Birmingham, Harrogate and Bristol are ready to take patients if needed. The other two are Sunderland and Exeter and they are due to open shortly.”

The fact that the Nightingale hospitals had not been “used in a significant way” was “something that is positive and we are grateful to the public for its role in that”, he said.

“People followed the advice to stay at home, that’s slowed the rate of infection and meant that the NHS wasn’t overwhelmed.”

The hospitals were “absolutely not” a waste of money, the spokesman said.

More details soon …

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