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More venues open doors to support COVID-19 fight

Lord’s Cricket Ground and the US Open tennis site are among the latest venues to have opened their doors to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord’s (pictured), has been in discussions with Westminster City Council over how the 30,000-seat London venue can be used to support the effort against COVID-19.

MCC has provided 75 parking spaces at Lord’s for staff at Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. Storage areas for the nearby Wellington Hospital will also be provided.

Additionally, MCC has provided food to City Harvest London, which will redistribute produce to organisations that can feed those in need.

MCC said in a statement: “We are mindful of our responsibility as a sporting institution and as a member of the local community to play our part. The close proximity of a number of hospitals to Lord’s gives the club the opportunity to assist medical staff so they can concentrate on their ongoing battle against the virus.”

Meanwhile, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center complex in New York will house a 350-bed temporary hospital from today (Tuesday), Reuters reports.

The US Open facility is being converted to support the US health service’s efforts in the battle against COVID-19, with New York having been particularly affected by the outbreak.

“We’re here to help – no two ways about it,” US Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier told Reuters. “New York is our home, we’re all in this together.”

A spokesman for New York City Emergency Management added that the site would likely be used for non-COVID-19 patients, with the situation to be evaluated as it develops.

The US Open’s Louis Armstrong Stadium is also set to serve as a preparation space for 25,000 food packages, which will be delivered to patients, healthcare workers and others in need.

This year’s US Open is currently scheduled to go ahead as planned from August 23 to September 13. The tennis calendar has already been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the French Open having been postponed until September. This year’s Wimbledon Championships are also set to fall victim to the pandemic, with an announcement expected this week.

Elsewhere in the US, the Seattle Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field stadium is set to be converted into a military field hospital for patients with non-COVID-19 health issues. The Associated Press news agency reports that at least 150 hospital beds will be created and it is hoped the facility will be ready this week.

In other news, the 60,000-seat Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, India is to be handed over as a quarantine centre for COVID-19 patients. The stadium is owned by the Sports Authority of India, which has agreed to provide the venue to the city government.

Another Indian venue is opening its doors to support the COVID-19 fight in the shape of the Buddh International Circuit, which hosted a Formula One grand prix between 2011 and 2013.

The venue will serve as a quarantine facility for migrant workers who had intended to leave Delhi to return home before a 21-day lockdown was imposed across India last week. Buddh International Circuit will house workers until the lockdown period lifts on April 14 in a move to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Some 5,000 people will be able to stay at the wider Jaypee Sports City complex, according to local reports.

Image: Daniel