The NHS is to buy up beds in private hospitals to boost capacity as Covid-19 spreads in the UK.
Manufacturing firms are also to be tasked with increasing production of ventilators and other essential medical equipment to prepare for a significant increase in the number of cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask companies to join a “national effort” to help beat the virus.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “The public are right to be proud of the NHS, but the scale of the challenge we face means we can’t do this alone
“We will be providing further operational instructions to all hospitals to help them prepare. But we need every part of society and every industry to ask what they can do to help the effort.”
It follows government efforts to increase the supply of ventilators to the NHS from around the world, although the virus is impacting health services globally with more than 155,000 confirmed cases.
The chairman of Unipart, a company which manufactures precision parts and manages a significant part of the NHS warehousing and logistics chain, said he supported the government’s request.
Chairman John Neill said: “This is a critical initiative – there are a lot of talented people already working at a great speed on this, it has my and other’s full hearted support.”
The NHS plans to update its guidance next week, explaining how it will increase its capacity to manage demand over the course of the outbreak.