Poland’s National Stadium in Warsaw is being converted into a field hospital amid an increase in cases of COVID-19.

Michal Dworczyk, head of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s office, said the hospital will initially have capacity for 500 beds before eventually expanding to 1,000 patients. It is expected to be operational within days.

Poland recorded a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases earlier in the year but cases have risen in recent weeks, with 7,842 infections and 41 deaths recorded yesterday (Monday).

Preparations are also being made to set up other temporary hospitals across Poland as hospitals begin to fill up. “We assume that it will not be possible to stop the dynamics of the epidemic and that we will have to open more temporary hospitals,” Mariusz Kaminski, Poland’s interior minister, said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Poland is also set to deploy the army to handle drive-through testing facilities. Health Minister Adam Niedzielski has warned that the country could face between 15,000 and 20,000 new daily cases if the infection rate continues to rise.

Warsaw’s 58,000-seat National Stadium was built ahead of the 2012 UEFA European Championships, which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine. The stadium is primarily used to stage Polish national team matches and also hosted the UEFA Europa League final in 2015.

Image: Joern Fehrmann/CC BY-SA 3.0/Edited for size