Commonwealth Games venues across the UK step up in COVID-19 fight

Venues from the 2002 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Glasgow are to be converted to support the fight against COVID-19, with facilities from the upcoming 2022 edition of the event in Birmingham also set to be offered up.

In Glasgow, the host city for the 2014 Games, building has started on a temporary NHS Scotland hospital at the city’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC). The SEC includes the SSE Hydro arena, which was used to host netball and gymnastics events during the Games, and the SEC Armadillo, which hosted weightlifting events.

Over 400 contractors are working alongside nearly 150 NHS Scotland clinicians and operational staff to establish the hospital (pictured), which will be known as the NHS Louisa Jordan. An initial 300 beds will be provided at the hospital to help protect Scotland’s NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main contractors involved in the construction of the facility are Balfour Beatty, GRAHAM, Kier Group and Robertson Group.

In Manchester, which hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, a new hospital facility named ‘Nightingale for the North’ is being constructed at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, which staged gymnastics, weightlifting, judo and wrestling during the multi-sport event.

The Manchester facility is scheduled to open on April 12 and is set to accommodate up to 500 beds.

“It will be a step-down hospital so it will not be for intensive care cases,” Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said, according to the Manchester Evening News. “It is intended to have 500 beds and to serve the whole of the north west.

“That’s to try and ensure that the capacity that we do have in our existing hospitals can be maximised for intensive care use and minimised for other uses over the period of time we are going to go through, because we are some weeks away from the peak of cases before we expect it to flatten out.”

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, the host city for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, a Nightingale Hospital is set to be fully operational at the NEC by April 12. The BBC reports that the site will initially have capacity for 500 beds and be scaled up to about 1,500 or more if needed.

The facility will be open for practice runs on April 10 before patients are permitted two days later.

The NEC is set to stage badminton, boxing, table tennis, weightlifting and netball events during the Games.

It was announced last week that Edgbaston, which will stage cricket matches at the Games, will serve as a drive-through COVID-19 testing station. Edgbaston will regularly test NHS staff working in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands region.

Image: Scottish Government