Teams and arenas from around the world are continuing to open their doors in the fight against COVID-19, with venues in the US, New Zealand and the Philippines among the latest to offer their services.
The Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team has announced that its former arena and practice facility in Natomas will be converted into a surge field hospital to provide critical medical services for COVID-19 and trauma care patients.
The hospital will house around 360 beds and additional services. It is being set up in response to the expected surge in COVID-19 patients in Sacramento.
The Kings, who now play at Golden 1 Center, will also assist the state of California and the city of Sacramento by donating $250,000 to support local community organisations providing essential services and supplies. The team will also donate 100,000 medical masks to state and local health agencies.
NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, is to be converted into a temporary medical shelter to treat patients with COVID-19. Local newspaper Community Impact reports that the facility would be used should any hospitals surpass capacity during the crisis.
Hospitals in the Greater Houston area are currently operating at 70 per cent capacity collectively, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said. It is hoped that NRG Stadium, which is being set up in the venue’s car park, will not need to be used.
Staying in the US, Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild NHL ice hockey team, has partnered with Anheuser-Busch to host a blood drive for the American Red Cross on April 15.
The event will take place from 10am to 4pm, with space limited. The Wild said that donating blood products is essential for community health and the need for blood products is “constant”, with healthy individuals still able to donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations.
A number of safety precautions will be taken during the event, with temperatures to be checked, hand sanitiser to be provided, social distancing measures to be implemented, and gloves and masks to be worn by staff and volunteers.
In New Zealand, Auckland’s Spark Arena (pictured) will become a food bank to support locals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Radio New Zealand reports that Auckland Council has set up the centre at the 12,000-seat arena as it looks to keep up with demands for food requests.
The food parcels being stored at the arena will be made available to locals who cannot travel to the supermarket or have been hit financially by COVID-19. The contact centre will be operated by Auckland Council and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the cost of running the facility would likely be in the millions.
In the Philippines, Manila’s 6,000-seat Ninoy Aquino Stadium, which forms part of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, is being transformed so it can house patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms.
The arena has already been converted and is set to become operational later this week once it has been disinfected. Free Wi-Fi and food will be made available to patients and staff.
The arena, which is used to stage athletics, basketball and other sports, is expected to accommodate over 100 patients.
Championship football club Cardiff City is also looking to support local communities during the crisis and has set up a resources list, where firms can advertise themselves to supporters.
The list includes exercise and therapy sessions, travel services and teaching resources among many others. The list can be viewed in full here.
Cardiff has also detailed plans for players to provide fans with fitness videos to stay in shape while staying at home. Players such as Marlon Pack, Sean Morrison, Curtis Nelson and Neil Etheridge will feature.