Coronavirus: Temporary mortuary being built in London to meet expected surge in deaths

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Coronavirus: Temporary mortuary being built in London to meet expected surge in deaths

A temporary mortuary is being built in preparation for an expected surge in the number of deaths among people with coronavirus.

Construction has started at the site on Manor Flats, an area of grassland in the borough of Newham, east London, near the southernmost tip of Epping Forest.

The temporary mortuary is expected to be finished later this week, the Evening Standard said.

The number of deaths among people with coronavirus passed 2,000 on Wednesday, the Department of Health said, after 563 more fatalities were reported.

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The temporary mortuary building is modular so its size can be adjusted to ensure the necessary capacity is met, a spokesman with the Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) , which steers response to a major incident in London, said.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “We know that the number of deaths will rise.

“That is why as part of the government’s response, additional mortuary space is being found and one of those is Manor Flats in the Manor Park area of Newham.

“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,” said Ms Fiaz, adding that “sadly relatives will not be able to visit the site”.

“Funeral directors and faith leaders will be encouraging people to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection by restricting the number of mourners who attend burials,” she said.

“They’ve also strongly advised that mourners should not take part in any rituals or practices that bring them into close contact with the body of the person who has died.”

Ms Fiaz assured residents that the land would be fully reinstated once the “desperate situation” had passed.

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.

Emergency measures enacted to deal with the coronavirus pandemic give ministers the power to demand that the corporation provide site access for this purpose.




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