Nightingale hospitals in the north told to prepare for Covid-19 patients
More people are now in hospital with Covid than before lockdown was announced in March
Government ministers are advising Nightingale hospitals in the north of England to prepare to take more Covid-19 patients as the number of infections rises rapidly.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said: "Already, with the cases that we know about, we have baked in additional hospital admissions and sadly we also have baked in additional deaths that are now consequent upon infections that have already happened."
The north-west of England is the worst affected area in the country but cases are rising nationwide.
Hospitals in Manchester, Harrogate and Sunderland are being asked to get ready for an intake of patients.
More lockdown restrictions are expected to be announced later today, with Liverpool set to be placed under a three-tier system according to risk.
NHS England's medical director Prof Stephen Powis said the benefits of extra measures including shutting pubs would not be felt for a number of weeks.