By Chris York
A further 28 people have died in England after contracting coronavirus, bringing the UK total to 463.
Earlier on Wednesday, five further deaths were announced in Wales, seven in Northern Ireland and six in Scotland. It means there have been 46 more fatalities in the last 24 hours across the UK.
The first British coronavirus-related death was recorded on March 5.
It took another 13 days for the number of deaths to pass 100 (on March 18), then three more days to pass 200 (on March 21). It has taken a further three days for the total to pass 400.
The Excel, in the capital’s Docklands area, which is currently used for conferences, will be transformed into the NHS Nightingale Hospital, providing capacity for 4,000 beds.
London has so far been the hardest hit area of the country and fears have been growing that NHS hospitals could quickly run out of beds.
Health secretary Matt Hancock also called for 250,000 volunteers to assist with the national effort to tackle coronavirus, help the NHS and support the vulnerable.
“We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health, to help the NHS – for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health.”
More than 35,000 extra NHS staff had also answered the call to help the UK fight the virus.
The number included more than 11,000 recently retired health professionals – some 2,660 doctors, more than 2,500 pharmacists and other staff and 6,147 nurses.
“I pay tribute to each and every one of those who is returning to the NHS at its hour of need,” he said.