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Boris Johnson Just Announced ‘2,500 Virtual Hospital Beds’ And People Are Confused

Emily Brown

| Last updated 

Boris Johnson Just Announced '2,500 Virtual Hospital Beds' And People Are ConfusedBBC/Alamy

Members of the British public were left baffled after Boris Johnson announced the creation of ‘250,000 virtual hospital beds’.

The prime minister made the comment during a press conference today, January 4, as the UK reported 218,724 new cases of coronavirus.


Johnson noted the number of new cases is the highest the UK has seen since the start of the pandemic, stressing that ‘anyone who thinks our battle with COVID over… is profoundly wrong’.

Boris Johnson (Alamy)Alamy

The number of people being treated in hospital for COVID-19 continues to rise across the country, though the PM said 90% of people in intensive care have not had a coronavirus booster jab.

In a bid to ensure everyone who needs treatment can get it, Johnson said Nightingale hospitals are being built and 2,500 ‘virtual beds’ are being created to allow people to be treated from home.


In December, the NHS explained how ‘virtual wards’ can allow patients to ‘receive the care they need at home, including in care homes, safely and conveniently rather than in hospital’.

NHS sign (Alamy)Alamy

‘They also provide systems with a significant opportunity to narrow the gap between demand and capacity for secondary care beds, by providing an alternative to admission and/or early discharge,’ the health service explained.

Though ‘virtual beds’ are evidently a very legitimate prospect, Johnson’s brief mention of the plans left listeners confused and questioning what exactly a ‘virtual bed’ would look like.


Many took to Twitter to joke about the phrase, with one likening virtual beds the kind seen in Minecraft while another wrote, ‘VIRTUAL BEDS ARE WE IN THE SIMS.’


In spite of the increasing cases, Johnson said we ‘have a chance to ride out this Omicron wave without shutting down this country once again’, explaining that while the government will continue to monitor the situation, at the moment he thinks ‘the balance of measures that we have is the right one, and the right one for Omicron’.

He added, ‘The best thing I think we can do now is to continue to follow the guidance.’

Johnson plans to recommend to the cabinet that the country continues with its current ‘Plan B’ measures, which include mask mandates, working from home where possible and having vaccine passports for some venues.

The PM also urged people to receive their coronavirus vaccine booster to help reduce the impacts of COVID-19, saying there are two million slots available for booster shots this week.


If you’ve been affected by coronavirus and want up to date advice, visit the help page here. If you need medical help call NHS 111 or visit online

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Omicron, Press Conference, Restrictions

Emily Brown
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