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Birmingham’s NEC ‘stands ready’ if needed as temporary hospital

A spokesperson for Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) has said the venue is ready and well-equipped should the centre be needed for a temporary hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “As a cornerstone of the local community, we are committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and well-being of everyone in our area. As such, we stand ready and willing to help our emergency services – especially at a time like this.

“The NEC is well equipped to be used as a support base if such need arises so please be assured, that if we are requested to do so, we can action this with immediate effect.

“We are and have been in constant communication with the local NHS trust, police and fire service, and the services are fully aware of the capabilities of the venue. We will do our utmost to support the effort in combating the virus.”

The statement comes a day after ExCeL London announced it was temporarily transforming into a field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

ExCel London, now temporarily the NHS Nightingale hospital, will initially offer 500 beds but has capacity for 4,000 across its two exhibition halls.

Jeremy Rees, CEO, ExCeL London, said: “Our country is facing the largest national emergency for a generation and our thoughts and sympathies are with those who are personally affected by this situation. It is crucial that everyone plays their part in the national effort, working with the Government to combat the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

“We are proud to be able to accommodate the increasing demand for hospital beds and will work with the NHS to facilitate this request. The team at ExCeL London will ensure that we work with the Government and relevant authorities to support their efforts in seeing the British people and the UK through this unprecedented crisis.”