02:08 - Source: CNN
UK races to convert convention hall into ICU
CNN  — 

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, opened a new coronavirus field hospital, NHS Nightingale, via videolink on Friday from his home in Scotland – the first time a member of the British royal family has performed an opening ceremony remotely.

Charles, 71, described the construction of the new medical facility, which can provide support for several thousand patients with coronavirus, as a “spectacular and almost unbelievable feat.”

“(It’s) an example – if ever one was needed – of how the impossible could be made possible,” he said via videolink.

Prince Charles opening the NHS Nightingale Hospital via video link from Birkhall in Scotland

Charles is out of isolation and in good health after testing positive for Covid-19 last week. The royal, who had been self-isolating at Birkhall, his Scottish residence, said: “I was one of the lucky ones to have Covid-19 relatively mildly.

“But for some, it will be a much harder journey. I am therefore so relieved that everyone can now have the reassurance that they will receive all the necessary technical care they may need and every chance to return to a normal life.”

NHS Nightingale is based at the ExCeL conference centre in East London, and will initially provide up to 500 beds equipped with ventilators and oxygen. When fully running, the hospital will have capacity for between 4,000 and 5,000 beds.

More than 33,000 people in the UK have tested positive for coronavirus, and almost 3,000 have died, according to the latest figures from the country’s Department of Health and Social Care.

On March 13, Charles and his wife announced they were canceling their spring tour due to the escalating coronavirus pandemic. The pair had been set to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan.

CNN’s Simon Cullen contributed to this report.