The military has a list of 17 locations for temporary coronavirus hospitals if necessary, from Glasgow and Sunderland to Plymouth and Exeter, Sky News understands.
Nine of the sites have been authorized and are about to go online, according to a military source.
Coronavirus patients are already being treated in the ExCel exhibition center in London, where the NHS Nightingale has been implemented. Some or all of the other eight sites could follow if necessary.
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The figure of 17 emerged from a briefing that was given Wednesday by the Ministry of Defense to a number of defense insiders.
This is an expansion of about 10 possible sites that were envisioned just two weeks ago – an indication of planning that is being prepared for a further increase in demand for hospital beds nationwide in as the pandemic spreads.
Dubbed Project Nightingale, the military was involved in the planning and design of the nine approved sites in support of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said a second source.
They are helping build five of the sites and will likely be deployed to help build the others.
The first five include the vast ExCel Center in east London, which opened last week as the flagship hospital for the NHS Nightingale.
The role of the military in this effort has been well known.
However, little has been said in public about the role that military planners, designers, engineers, logisticians and others play in helping the government create thousands of additional beds across the country.
The NEC in Birmingham, the Manchester Central Convention Complex, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and the Harrogate Convention Center in Yorkshire are other locations where the military is also said to have contributed to the construction.
In addition, four sites where new hospital facilities or annexes to existing structures have been approved are located at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow, Belfast City Hospital, Bristol University of West England and at a rugby stadium in Llanelli, in South West Wales.
The size of each location will vary, not all of which should be a mega hospital complex like the ExCel.
The ministers said the facility would have a capacity of 4,000 beds when it was fully operational.
The expected number of beds at Harrogate is around 500, while at Birmingham NEC it could accommodate 2,500, the military source said.
The source said one of eight other areas where possible temporary hospitals could be built is at the Farnborough Conference Center in Hampshire.
Well secured and based next to an airport, it would make an ideal location.
The Farnborough Air Show was slated to take place at the site in July, but this was canceled due to the pandemic.
Four other hospitals are thought to be Westpoint Exeter, Kent County Showground, a center in Sunderland and a sports center at the University of Nottingham.
The last three sites are reserved for Plymouth, Cambridge and Cumbria.