The 190,000 sq ft Manchester Central Convention Centre is to be converted into a temporary hospital with 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients and is expected to be operational by mid-April.
Meanwhile, in Liverpool, the council has confirmed it will make 1,300 city centre parking spaces available for free to the NHS for the next three months including 1,000 at Mount Pleasant multi-storey car park.
The Manchester Central hospital was announced on Friday by NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens as he also confirmed a temporary hospital would be built at Birmingham’s NEC.
A hospital is also being installed at London’s ExCel arena and is due to be operational this week. Collectively, the special hospitals are being referred to as NHS Nightingale hospitals.
The smallest of the three schemes, Manchester Central will have capacity for 1,000 patient beds and is due to open in mid-April. Both NEC and ExCel have capacity for 5,000 beds.
Military services are being drafted in to build the hospitals. Further facilities are expected to be announced to prepare for the peak of the outbreak.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As the owners of Manchester Central Convention Complex, we have worked with the Ministry of Defence and health services to make the building urgently available for this vital use.
“The need to establish this new hospital underlines the serious nature of the Covid-19 pandemic we all face but also shows how seriously it is being responded to and I hope the public are reassured by the swiftness of this action.”
Further details are yet to be revealed on how patients and staff will access Manchester Central, and whether there will be any impact on movement in the surrounding area.