The U.K. government is to provide an extra 30,000 mortuary spaces as a precaution in preparation for the worst possible outcome, amid growing warnings that Britain could face the most coronavirus deaths in Europe.
- The additional temporary places will be constructed from existing buildings and modular constructions, next to existing public mortuaries.
- They will be added to the 18,000 public mortuary spaces spread across the U.K.
- Local government minister Simon Clarke said the curve in the U.K. was starting to flatten because of people following social distancing measures.
- But he added that the extra mortuary spaces were intended to provide the “right capacity for the most pessimistic possible outcome,” the BBC reported.
- “We do want to make certain that we are not caught without enough capacity, that would obviously be dreadful," the BBC reported Clarke as saying.
In numbers: The U.K. has recorded more than 16,000 coronavirus-linked deaths, and more than 121,000 confirmed cases. The nation has the fifth highest number of deaths in the world after the U.S., Italy, Spain and France.
Key background: A month ago, the National Medical Director of Britain’s National Health Service said that keeping the number of coronavirus-linked deaths below 20,000 would be a “good result”, as he acknowledged that each death is a tragedy. But the rising death toll over the past few weeks indicate that deaths in the U.K. are on track to exceed that figure soon.
Temporary hospitals have been built in major cities including a 4,000-bed Nightingale hospital in London, as well as facilities in Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff.
Tangent: The NHS is looking to collect blood plasma from COVID-19 survivors to be used in trials as a possible treatment for COVID-19, the NHS Blood and Transplant Service said.