English Premier League football club Chelsea has resumed its aid efforts during COVID-19 by once more providing accommodation at Stamford Bridge to the National Health Service (NHS).

Club owner Roman Abramovich will again cover the costs of providing the accommodation, which includes bed and breakfast, at the on-site Copthorne Hotel. A similar initiative was rolled out last March in response to the first COVID-19 outbreak in London.

With England now under national lockdown, the rooms will be initially available until the next government review in mid-February. Chelsea said: “Many of the medical staff will be working long hours and may not be able to travel home or would have to make long commutes at a time when the virus is so transmissible.”

Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the hotel, are assisting the club in providing the service to the NHS.

The announcement comes as Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (Friday) declared a ‘major incident’ due to the rapid spread of the virus across the capital and the increase of COVID-19 cases in hospitals, which has left the NHS at risk of being overwhelmed.

The Mayor took the decision as the formal Chair of the London Resilience Forum following discussions with leaders from NHS London, local authorities, Public Health England and the emergency services in the capital.

It comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in London has exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, putting immense pressure on an already stretched NHS. Major incidents have been called previously for the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, as well as the terror attacks at Westminster Bridge and London Bridge in March and June 2017, respectively.

Image: Ben Sutherland/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size