Coronavirus "surge hubs" are to be set up at hospitals across England in preparation for a potential wave of Omicron admissions, the NHS has said.
The eight temporary "Nightingale" units will each house about 100 patients, with building starting this week.
There are also plans to identify sites for a further 4,000 beds if needed.
Record Covid case numbers were reported in the UK on Wednesday and NHS medical director Prof Stephen Powis said the service was on a "war footing".
The NHS is often required to deploy extra beds over winter, but hospitalisations in England with Covid have risen above 10,000 for the first time since March.
Across the UK 183,037 daily cases were reported in the latest figures, with over 900,000 cases reported over the last seven days - up 41.4% on the week before.
Prof Powis said the NHS "cannot wait to find out before we act" given the number of infections and uncertainty about Omicron's severity.
Source: BBC News, 30 December 2021
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