Local authorities in Essex have requested military assistance to increase hospital capacity after declaring a major incident caused by a surge in coronavirus cases.
On Wednesday officials announced they were in critical need of help in response to a “significant growing demand” on hospitals across the county.
The numbers are expected to increase further in the coming days, with cases particularly high in Mid and South Essex.
Areas of concern include critical care and bed capacity, staff sickness and the ability to discharge patients quickly into safe environments.
On Wednesday afternoon, the local MP for Harwich and North Essex Sir Bernard Jenkin said the county was in the process of requesting military help.
He told MPs in the Commons: “I can confirm to [Matt Hancock] that Essex has declared a major incident and can I also inform him that at this very moment they are submitting a request for military assistance to the civil authority, a MACA request to assist with the construction of community hospitals, additional hospital capacity and supported by the armed forces and party staffed by the armed forces.