The massive 1.3 million square foot exhibition hall and conference space has been turned into the Middle East’s largest hospital in anticipation of rising numbers of coronavirus cases. The facility will house up to 3,000 beds, of which 800 will be for ICU patients.

The facility was set up with the help of the British military, following the model of London’s first NHS Nightingale - a 4,000-bed field hospital in the ExCel London convention center - where hundreds of rows of beds are set up side by side, allowing medical staff to easily maneuver between patients.

The move comes in line with the UAE’s broader preventive and early-action measures, including mass testing and increasing hospital beds. So far, over 650,000 coronavirus tests have been conducted, largely through drive-through facilities with capacities to process 10,000 tests per day. According to the latest reports on April 16, the UAE had 5,365 confirmed cases.

“We are prepared for all scenarios,” Director General of Dubai Health Authority, Humaid Al Qatami said last week. “We have put an integrated plan in place for all hospitals. [We are] prepared to help 5,000, 10,000 or, god forbid, more than that.”

Photos by Karim Sahib, AFP.