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Coronavirus: Farnborough Conference Centre possible site for temporary hospital

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Coronavirus: Farnborough Conference Centre possible site for temporary hospital

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 7:19am 9th April 2020. (Updated at 7:28am 9th April 2020)

Reports say the military has a list of locations for temporary coronavirus hospitals if required, including the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Sky News reports a military source as saying the conference centre is one of the areas where possible temporary hospitals might be constructed.

Well secured and based next to Farnborough airport, it would make an ideal location.

The Farnborough Air Show had been due to take place at the venue in July but was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The report goes on to say the source says out of 17 venues in total, nine have been authorised and are in the process of coming online.

Farnborough is not among these - but reports say it is on a list of eight further potential sites if needed.

Coronavirus patients are already being treated at the converted ExCel exhibition centre in London, where the NHS Nightingale has been set up.

The latest news indicates that plans are being made to prepare for a further spike in demand for hospital beds nationwide as the pandemic spreads.

Dubbed Project Nightingale, the armed forces have been involved in the planning and design of the nine approved locations in support of the Department of Health and Social Care, a second source said.

They are helping to build five of the venues - which included the ExCel Centre, which is now open - and will likely be deployed to assist with the construction of the others.

However, little has been said in public about the part that military planners, designers, engineers, logisticians and others are playing in helping the government to create thousands more bed spaces across the country.

Other venues where the military is thought to have also helped with the building work are the NEC in Birmingham, the Manchester Central Convention Complex, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff and Harrogate Convention Centre in Yorkshire.

In addition, four sites where new hospital facilities or annexes to existing structures have been approved are at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow, Belfast City Hospital, Bristol University of West England and a rugby stadium in Llanelli, south-west Wales.

As well as Farnborough, four other possible hospital locations are thought to be Westpoint Exeter, Kent County Showground, a centre in Sunderland and a sports facility at Nottingham University.

The final three locations are earmarked for Plymouth, Cambridge and Cumbria.