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Ice rink to be turned into emergency mortuary

An ice rink in Milton Keynes will be turned into an emergency mortuary "in a matter of days", in order to cope with a rise in coronavirus-related deaths, the local authority has said.

Planet Ice in South Row will become a temporary facility in the event funeral directors are unable to hold bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Milton Keynes Council.

In a statement released on Tuesday, a spokesperson said: "We're working with the owners of Planet Ice to ready the rink as a precaution should it be needed to support local operations.

Image: Planet Ice will become a temporary facility during the pandemic

"Ice rinks elsewhere in the UK have previously been used as temporary mortuary facilities, as their existing infrastructure can typically be adapted faster and more effectively than other buildings."

The 2,800 capacity ice rink will be kept open to ensure the venue remains at the temperature needed for the temporary morgue.

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Milton Keynes Council leader Peter Marland has said work to convert it would take "a matter of days", and predicts it could hold bodies "in the hundreds".

"We have been planning for a while around capacity as we picked up quite early that it could be an issue for us", he added.

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"We only have one crematorium and the next nearest one is in Wing.

"If the worst is to happen, we wanted to make sure that that person and their family had as much dignity as possible."

Work has also already begun at another temporary mortuary at Birmingham Airport which could hold up to 12,000 bodies in a worst-case scenario.

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