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Convention Centres: from hospitality to hospitals

Convention centres all over the world are now being turned into temporary hospitals to respond to the coronavirus emergency and the shortage of beds in ICUs.

Fiera Milano

Fondazione Fiera Milano have just recently started the construction of a temporary hospital in two of the Fiera Milano’s halls in downtown Milan, right next to the MiCo Milano Convention Centre. The hospital will welcome 250 units to treat patients affected by the COVID-19. The total area occupied by the new hospital is of about 25.000 square meters on two floors. The first units, will be fully operational at the beginning of April thanks to the generosity of the Milanese community. Private citizens and important companies like Moncler have donated money for the completion of the project.

Other cities in Italy have followed this initiative. Bergamo, 25 miles North of Milan and one of the city mostly affected by this emergency, has turned its fairground into a hospital for 142 patients. Half of the beds will be used for the intensive care units while the remaining half will be dedicated to those who are healing from coronavirus.

New hospitals around the world

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the plan of a new hospital to be built at the Javits Convention Centre in Manhattan. The home to important shows and international conventions is now working on a 24 hour basis to make available to the city almost 1200 beds of ICUs.

The Chicago Tribune also reported that the McCormick Place, the windy city’s convention centre, will be converted into Illinois’ first field hospital. It will be able to house 3,000 coronavirus patients by the end of April, with at least 500 beds expected to be ready before Easter, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The capital of Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reports, is now in the process of converting its convention & exhibition centre into a field hospital and the same is happening in California, where the city of Santa Clara is aiming at creating at least 250 beds at its convention centre.

Europe is also very comitted to respond promptly to this emergency. Both Madrid and London are now using their convention facilities, IFEMA and EXCEL respectively, as temporary healthcare hubs. In Spain, in particular, the crisis has been so grave that the Palacio de Hielo (the city’s ice rink) needed to be turned into a morgue.

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