A temporary mortuary is to be opened at Birmingham airport in preparation for a predicted rise in the number of fatalities from coronavirus in the region.
Work has begun on the site in Birmingham, which will initially be able to hold 1,500 bodies, although it will be expanded to hold more.
West Midlands police said it anticipated that the mortuary could ultimately accommodate all deaths in the region, with regular mortuaries likely to close to staff the facility.
Dead Bodies pile up
“A temporary mortuary is to be opened at Birmingham Airport. which will initially be able to hold 1,500 bodies, although it will be expanded to hold more”
The West Midlands saw another surge in coronavirus-related deaths after emerging as a hotspot for transmissions of the virus.
Of the 115 new deaths reported across the country in yesterday’s update, 40 were recorded in the West Midlands.
The total number of deaths across the Midlands is 112. Eighteen of the people who died had been treated by the Royal Wolverhampton NHS trust.
Do not travel on public transport unless it is essential. This is to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives. Visit https://t.co/UTs4rmLZgD for the latest updates. pic.twitter.com/saRn5M2jn5
— Transport for West Midlands (@TransportForWM) March 23, 2020
British Army to build more hospitals
The British Armed Forces will turn three major conference venues into temporary NHS hospitals, according to an internal document seen by the BBC. It shows:
- Phase 1 is the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands. The document states it will have the capacity of between 4,000 and 5,000 beds and will open in the last week of March
- Phase 2 is a temporary hospital for England and Wales at the NEC Centre in Birmingham. The document says it will have the capacity for 5,000 beds and will open in mid-April
- Phase 3 is the Convention Complex – formally GMEX – in Manchester. The document states it will have 1,000 beds and open in mid-April
Scotland is not mentioned in the document, but the Army there has already confirmed to the BBC that the Royal Engineers have visited the SECC in Glasgow as a possible site for a temporary hospital.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said it was “working hard to identify where it can most effectively assist other government departments and civil authorities”.
Britain’s PM Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, as has Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who are both self-isolating.