UK begins construction of emergency mortuary to cope with high coronavirus deaths
London, April 2, 2020 (AltAfrica)-United Kingdom, UK has begun work on building an emergency mortuary in east London in preparation for the expected surge in coronavirus deaths. Already, the number of patients who died in hospitals is now 2,352.
It comes as health officials said the number of people who had tested positive for the virus in UK had reached 29,474, with just more than 150,000 tests having taken place
The emergency mortuary facility is being constructed on Wanstead Flats, Newham, to take pressure off funeral directors.
The site, owned by the City of London Corporation, is less than four miles from the 4,000-bed Nightingale field hospital at the ExCeL conference centre in Docklands.
The London Resilience Forum, which manages emergency preparation in the capital, is directing the mortuary design, build and operation. It is expected to be finished later this week.
Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “The facility will act as a holding point before a respectful and dignified cremation or burial can take place to send a loved one on their final journey. Sadly relatives will not be able to visit the site. The land will be fully reinstated once this desperate situation has passed.”
A temporary mortuary with room for 1,600 bodies has been built in a car park in Ruislip, next to Hillingdon council’s Breakspear Crematorium.
Council officials said that it has been set up as a “precautionary measure” in case existing mortuary capacity proves insufficient.
Westminster council is using a temporary structure to double the size of its mortuary in Horseferry Road.
WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference on Wednesday that the number of global fatalities has more than doubled in the past week.
“As we enter the fourth month of the Covid-19 pandemic, I’m deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread of infection,” he said.
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area.
“The number of deaths has almost doubled in the past week. In the next few days we will reach one million confirmed cases and 50,000 deaths.”