At the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, the home of Welsh Rugby and soccer, its turf playing surface has transformed to create a field hospital that is to offer up to 2,000 beds to help the NHS cope with the coronavirus crisis.
Known as The Dragon’s Heart Hospital, it is the second largest temporary facility of its kind in the UK, behind the ExCel Arena in London, which has been transformed into the Nightingale Hospital with 4,000 beds.
The 74,500-seater Principality Stadium has closed its retractable roof and set up a number of tent-like temporary structures on the playing field.
“We have made the entire Principality Stadium available to be used based on NHS requirements, including hospitality areas and a variety of further rooms and facilities,” said Martyn Phillips, CEO of the Welsh Rugby Union, which owns and operates Principality Stadium.
“It is a privilege to be able to offer our services, facilities and a significant number of operational staff, at their individual choice, to help at this time of national emergency.
“We have made advanced plans to transform relevant spaces into fully functional hospital environments, working closely with Levy UK, who are responsible for overseeing similar transitions elsewhere.”
It joins a number of sporting stadia around the world to offer support to health services by providing space for a greater number of beds to patients with Covid-19. The NFL’s Miami Dolphins has been offering its Hard Rock Stadium as a drive-in testing center, soccer stadia in Brazil have been transformed into coronavirus support facilities, Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium has been made available for other NHS services as typical hospitals have become full due to the virus. Many other stadia and arenas, large and small, have all been doing their bit to help out during the crisis.