The Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is to become the next temporary coronavirus hospital.

The Birmingham site, located off the M42 motorway, has 18 exhibition halls for world-famous events, such as Crufts, and could see exhibition halls used to treat patients.

NEC group chief executive Paul Thandi said he and team are “ready and waiting” to help the NHS out if necessary.

In a statement, Mr Thandi said: “As a cornerstone of the local community, we are committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and wellbeing 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 will do our utmost to support the effort in combating the virus,” he added.

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), BirminghamRangzeb Hussain
The NEC would be used similarly to the ExCel Centre in London, which will become a field hospital with 4,000 beds

The NHS Birmingham and Solihull clinical commissioning group (CCG) said a ‘national announcement’ regarding the NEC planned field hospital was expected, but was unable to give any further details.

On Tuesday it was announced the ExCel Centre in London will become a field hospital with 4,000 beds.

Meanwhile, a further 87 people are confirmed to have died in the UK, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said, taking the total death toll to 422.

According to the latest Department of Health and Social Care figures, 8,077 people have tested positive, while 82,359 have tested negative.

In the West Midlands, the latest official figures reveal – as of yesterday (March 23rd) – Birmingham cases have rose from 75 to 137. Solihull cases jumped from four to eight.

The Midlands region had 808 cases as of 23rd March, up from 491 in two days, the latest UK regional breakdown also shows.

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