Stadia play role of Johnny-on-the-spot


Corona virus stadiums used as hospitals VI Image: Various

We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the collapse of national economies and has left people’s cup of woes overflowing. So far, the coronavirus figures in the world stands at a staggering 3,665,418 and the mortality figures – 252,950.

Not very long back, excited fans would line up before stadium gates full of beans to watch their demi-gods in action on the field or in the auditoriums. The scene is no longer the same in a post-virus world today. Several stadia and sports fields around the world have been serving different purposes as field hospitals or coronavirus test sites. Some shelter the homeless. Others are used to feed the hungry while some are morgues.

Presenting Part VI of our series – ‘Stadiums as Hospitals’. Part I was carried out in the ‘Coliseum’ edition dated March 25, 2020, under the title – ‘Stadia turn into hospitals to handle COVID-19 outbreak’ and the Part II series was published on April 3, 2020, under the title – ‘Sports venues world over pitch in to combat coronavirus’. ‘Stadiums put best foot forward as COVID-19 body bags pile up’ was Part III of the series which got published in the April 10, 2020 edition of ‘Coliseum’, and Part IV was published in our April 20, 2020, edition under the headline – ‘Stadiums continue to play Good Samaritans’. Part V appeared in the ‘Coliseum’ edition dated April 28, 2020 under the headline – ‘Stadiums to the fore as COVID-19 storm on’.


United States

The country which has been shattered totally due to the fatal virus COVID-19 is United States. The respiratory disease has left a trail of deaths and the sufferings simply do not seem to cease.




Inter Miami CF

The American professional soccer club Inter Miami CF recently extended a helping hand related to COVID-19 relief by hosting DeliverLean’s food distribution event at Inter Miami CF Stadium in tune with the Urban League of Broward County. Over 300 bags of food were distributed to families in need. These food distribution events will continue to take place at Inter Miami CF Stadium every Wednesday in the foreseeable future.

Inter Miami CF or simply Inter Miami, is an American professional soccer club based in the Miami metropolitan area in Florida, US. The team began play in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the 2020 season at the Inter Miami CF Stadium, the site of the former Lockhart Stadium.

DeliverLean Cares, a charitable division of DeliverLean, a healthy meal and delivery service devoted to engaging the South Florida community, collected non-perishable food items from local homes to distribute to families in need.

Inter Miami goalkeeper and team captain Luis Robles took part in the food distribution activity at the facility and was accompanied by DeliverLean CEO and founder Scott Harris, City of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and City of Fort Lauderdale (city in the US State of Florida) Commissioner Heather Moraitis.

“It’s a strange feeling being here in this capacity. When you consider everything that’s going on in our community, it’s really important that we have companies such as DeliverLean and our team stepping up to help the community,” observed Robles.

Robles added, “It’s one thing to be in the community playing soccer, but it’s another thing in entirety to be of the community. That’s a hugely important part of who we are and the makeup of who we are at Inter Miami CF. I just hope that the families that are going through these situations can find some sort of relief in these meals today.”

He further added, “It’s really incredible to be part of an organization that’s not only in the community, but is of the community. As we serve our community in other ways outside of entertainment, I hope that you will continue to not only support our cause, but partner with us as we look to make a difference in South Florida.”

Robles stated, “It’s really cool that we get to be a part of this project and help the community in some way. There are some real pockets in our community that are struggling as they deal with COVID-19 and we just want to be a bright spot. I know right now we can’t be that bright spot through soccer, but we’re hoping through our service and our partnerships we can be a bright spot in their lives right now.”


Coronavirus count

To date, the coronavirus count in US stands at 1,218,472 and the death toll – 70,713.


South Africa




FNB Stadium

The iconic FNB Stadium in Johannesburg is being repurposed to serve as a temporary treatment center for severe acute respiratory infections during the COVID-19 crisis. Internationally acclaimed design practice Boogertman + Partners, part of the design team for FNB Stadium, is spearheading the project to remodel the stadium as a 1,500-bed treatment center.

The 94,736-capacity First National Bank Stadium or simply FNB Stadium is a football and rugby union stadium located in Nasrec, bordering the Soweto area of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Boogertman + Partners have teamed up with fellow architects Geyser Hahn for the project, which is being led by infrastructure consultants Blue IQ. Although the respective parties stressed that they hope their work will not be needed, they have pointed out how the facility developed as the centerpiece for South Africa’s staging of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, could be employed during the worsening coronavirus situation.

Boogertman + Partners said in a statement, “A stadium designed for large volumes of segregated audiences to move swiftly within defined areas (players, spectators, media, VIPs, vendors) lends itself very well to creating space for patients, medical staff and suppliers to move through a treatment system while keeping the distancing needed to minimize the risk of increased infection. From basement level to the upper suite levels – each tier of the stadium was assigned a role in the flow of treatment from testing and patient assessment to high care in ICU units.”

Jean Grobler, Director at Boogertman + Partners, said, “While I hope we never have to build our design, which we believe is an excellent solution from initial low-risk cases through to full ICU facilities, the spirit of collective problem solving and goodwill was incredible. It made us proud of our profession.”


Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is being used as a COVID-19 isolation zone for those identified through contact tracing. These people are at risk of contracting the virus because they had been in contact with confirmed coronavirus cases.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is a football and rugby union stadium and sits in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. It is one of the avant-garde stadiums in South Africa. It staged the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

As community screening has been ramped up, as many as 16,000 people can be screened in one day. People are allowed to leave the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium once they test negative.


Cape Town International Convention Centre

Cape Town International Convention Centre is being converted into a temporary Covid-19 hospital and can lodge 800 patients.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre is a convention centre in Cape Town, South Africa. The center opened in June 2003. It is run as a partnership between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said on Wednesday the hospital would make up most of the province’s predicted 1,000-bed shortfall at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rest of the shortfall would be made up with temporary beds in other facilities “in appropriate geographic locations”, said Winde.

Cape Town has emerged as the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. Winde said while the convention centre had been an integral part of the Western Cape economy, “its use as a hospital to care for hundreds of ill people during this global pandemic is its most significant contribution to our region yet”.

He informed that the original part of the convention centre would be made available rent-free until September 7 this year, with an option to extend until the end of the year.

Winde added, “This amount excludes the costs that the Department of Health will incur in providing clinical equipment, oxygen, medication and temporary staff for the temporary hospital. The intermediate-care beds will cater to patients with milder clinical signs who need hospitalization and treatment, including administration of oxygen.”

“The CTICC will not provide care for patients with more severe clinical signs, which will require intensive care treatment. The layout of services at the site – including beds, showers, nursing stations, support stations, physiotherapy stations and bulk oxygen storage tank spaces – had already been prepared,” Winde further added.


Coronavirus count

The coronavirus figures presently in South Africa stands at 7,220 and the casualty figures – 138.




Cars Jeans Stadion

Dutch Eredivisie football club ADO Den Haag has joined hands with citizens’ initiative DoneerEenDorp in a venture that will transform the surrounds of its residence – Cars Jeans Stadion – into providing a roof to the homeless during the COVID-19 crisis which is bleeding the whole world.

ADO Den Haag is a Dutch association football club from the city of The Hague in the Netherlands. The Cars Jeans Stadion is a multipurpose stadium in The Hague, Netherlands, and is used mostly for football and field hockey. It is also the home stadium of ADO Den Haag.

Fifty portable cabins will be set up as part of the initiative. The site is set to be used as a means to provide ‘replacement home isolation’ services for those who have contracted the fatal respiratory disease.

Remarked Mohammed Hamdi, General Manager of ADO Den Haag, “At ADO Den Haag we like to contribute in several ways in the fight against coronavirus.

Facilitating this project meets an important need: People can be accommodated who are diligently looking for a suitable and isolated place to recover. Because this is important for society and in particular for The Hague community, we are happy to lend a helping hand.”

Deputy Mayor of The Hague Alderman Bert van Alphen added, “If you don’t have a house, you can’t stay at home. People without a roof over their head who are sick, but do not need extra care or nursing, can be temporarily accommodated thanks to the placement of the porta cabins in the parking lot of the stadium.”

The initiative comes in the wake of the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) effectively canceling the Eredivisie season after the Government extended a ban on the staging of major public events by a further three months.

The Eredivisie is the highest echelon of professional football in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956, two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. As of the 2019-20 seasons, it is ranked the ninth best league in Europe by the UEFA. The top division comprises 18 clubs.


Coronavirus count

Up till now, the coronavirus cases in the Netherlands are – 41,087 and the casualty figures – 5,168.


United Kingdom (UK)


Ricoh Arena

Ricoh Arena – home venue of English Premiership rugby union team Wasps – is being employed as a COVID-19 testing center.

The Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England, is a complex which includes a 32,609-seater stadium, used by Wasps rugby union club, a 6,000 square meters exhibition hall, a hotel and a casino.

Car Park A at the multiuse venue in the city of Coventry in UK will handle tests for National Health Service (NHS) staff and registered care workers. The site will be run by the Coventry & Warwickshire Health & Care Partnership – comprising NHS organizations and local authorities.

A Wasps spokesperson said: “Wasps has always tried to play a big part in the local community so it was a pretty easy decision when approached to help. Everybody knows where the Ricoh Arena is, so it makes sense to set up the center at such an accessible location.”

The spokesperson added, “It has been a team effort from all bodies involved to get this up and running inside a week, and hopefully will be a major help to all those who are working so selflessly to keep the population safe at such a difficult time.”

Wasps Rugby Football Club is an English professional rugby union team based in Coventry, England. They play in Premiership Rugby, England’s top division of rugby.


Coronavirus count

The United Kingdom has taken a massive hit from the deadly coronavirus and latest reports suggest that the island nation has overtaken Italy with Europe’s official coronavirus death toll – to date, 32,313 people have lost their lives to coronavirus in UK. The coronavirus cases stands at 194,990.


Going the extra mile

Sports venues the world over are no longer getting ready for the next season but instead field hospitals stand on the turf. A common scene in stadiums these days is COVID-19 warriors lending a helping hand to the millions of people who have been devastated due to the deadly virus.

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