Building work has begun on a temporary mortuary for 1,500 bodies at Birmingham Airport to aid in the coronavirus pandemic.
The site on the south side of the airport at Elmdon could later increase capacity to accommodate up to 12,000.
Metro reports the site includes a vast cargo hub and several large hangers on the opposite side of the airstrip from the airport’s two main passenger terminals.
And according to the Express and Star, it is thought the mortuary could eventually see the site being used for deaths across the West Midlands, including those not related to coronavirus.
It is believed the facilities will ensure dignity for victims by trying to accommodate religious requirements.
A Birmingham Airport spokesman said: “Birmingham Airport can confirm that it is working with the authorities to provide land and a hangar for a temporary mortuary site at the Elmdon side of Birmingham Airport, to support with the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’ve seen the numbers of deaths just keep rising.
“This mortuary is anticipated to accommodate the deceased from across the region, including those not related to coronavirus.
“Birmingham Airport will do its utmost to support this multi-agency response during these difficult times.”
Senior Birmingham Coroner Louise Hunt is also reported to have said that every consideration would be given to family members.
She said: “We understand that it is a very difficult time for everyone.
“We will do all that we can to make sure bereaved families understand what is happening to their loved ones and to release them for funeral as soon as we can.”
And deputy leader of Sandwell Council Wasim Ali told Metro that the region ‘had to be ready’.
“In reality, we have to prepare for the worst as local councils.
“We’ve seen the numbers of deaths just keep rising.
“If it does get to that point, we have to be prepared. It’s a big logistics operation, so we have to take that decision to start the planning.”
The first images from the NHS Nightingale hospital in the Excel Centre pic.twitter.com/6Hbs1YFYyc
— Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) March 28, 2020
Crufts was held recently at the NEC
The nearby National Exhibition Centre is also being transformed into a 500 bed temporary hospital. However, just three weeks ago it hosted Crufts.
It is one of two sites that have been given approval to become temporary hospitals following the announcement of the NHS Nightingale at the ExCeL in London.
Meanwhile, the other facility will be constructed at the Manchester Central Convention Centre.
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