A BASINGSTOKE four-star hotel is being transformed into a temporary hospital to help ease the burden on the NHS, the Gazette can reveal.

The Apollo Hotel on Aldermaston Road, just a five minute car journey to Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, has given itself over to the NHS England for upcoming months as the country reaches the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

As previously reported, the NHS had been identifying sites around the town for a so-called ‘Nightingale’ hospital to support Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which operates Basingstoke hospital.

It comes just days after the ExCel centre’s emergency hospital was opened in east London. Staff from private medical specialists Hobbs Rehabilitation were spotted at the site.

Also in this week's paper:

  • A man has appeared in court charged with arson with intent to endanger life after a block of flats went up in flames on Monday. Full story on page 2.
  • Basingstoke hospital has validated a test for Covid-19 which could be used across the UK for rapid testing of the disease, which is faster than any other test currently in use. Full story on page 4.
  • Hospitals, care homes and pharmacists have called on the government to provide them with more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to guard them from coronavirus. Full investigation on pages 6-7.
  • We say thank you to the paper boys and girls helping to keep the people of Basingstoke up to date with the latest news during the coronavirus pandemic. Full story on pages 12-13.
  • The aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis will transform the way we live, work and travel in the UK, according to the Hampshirebased AA. Full story on page 14.
  • Two pages of your letters to the editor.
  • Two pages of your birthdays and celebrations.
  • Two pages of news from your communities, including Sherfield, Chineham and Cliddesden.
  • Three pages of news from our districts, including Tadley, Whitchurch and Hook.
  • Eight-page education awards supplement.
  • Eight-page puzzle special.
  • Two pages of business news.
  • Three pages of entertainment news.
  • A free #StayHomeSaveLives poster to put in your window, plus a cut out rainbow for you to colour in.

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