Birmingham Airport to be turned into temporary coronavirus mortuary for 12,000 bodies – The Sun

BIRMINGHAM Airport could be turned into a temporary coronavirus mortuary for 12,000 bodies.

Police chiefs say the huge mortuary could be expanded to cope with more bodies as the grim death toll today hit more than 750 fatalities.

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The West Midlands itself is considered a coronavirus hot-spot with 112 deaths recorded so far.

The airport is next to Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC), which has already been discussed as a possible location for a temporary field hospital.

It is understood that any airport facility could initially have space for 2,500 bodies, increasing to up to 12,000, if needed.

Senior Birmingham Coroner Louise Hunt said: "We understand that it is a very difficult time for everyone and 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."

It is now anticipated that the new site could ultimately accommodate all deaths across the West Midlands.

This means it could handle deaths not related to coronavirus as regional mortuaries may close due to staffing the new facility.

A Birmingham Airport spokeswoman said: "We have been in discussions with the authorities and we will of course co-operate to find a suitable location and help where we can to support the fight back against this pandemic."

Deputy leader of Sandwell Council Wasim Ali said: "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."


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He added: "We really don't want to have to use it, but if we do, then it'll be available."

Mr Ali said a plan is needed because municipal mortuaries could run out of space.

Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine from West Midlands Police chairs the Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) which oversees the multi-agency response:

"The SCG – made up of key agencies across West Midlands and Warwickshire – convenes every day to manage the multi-agency response to coronavirus.

"This is a major incident but by bringing all public sector agencies and partners together we are able to better deal with this challenge together and work jointly at a critical time of need.

"The temporary mortuary is just one example of how we are all working together to best serve our local people."

Just today, Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock both confirmed they had tested positive for coronavirus.

The high-profile names come after Prince Charles, 71, also tested positive for the bug.

The Queen remains in good health at Windsor.


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