Dubai: The world of sport has, over the month of March, extended it’s helping hand to combat the growing shadow of coronavirus pandemic in more ways than one. While the stars have chipped in with financial contributions, leading sports venues have thrown open their real estate to open makeshift hospitals, isolation wards or even space for the medical staff.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has lent its support by giving the parking space of the Lord’s Cricket Ground to the medical staff.
In addition to the parking space, the MCC has also decided to provide storage areas for the Wellington Hospital in the UK.
“In light of the current situation regarding the outbreak of Covid-19, MCC has been in continuous dialogue with Westminster City Council as to how the Club can utilise elements of Lord’s Cricket Ground for the good of the community,” the MCC said in an official statement.
“MCC has currently provided 75 parking space at Lord’s for staff at Wellington Hospital, University College Hospital, and the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. We are also providing storage areas for the Wellington Hospital - which is situated very close to the ground,” it added.
The club also decided to provide some food to City Harvest London, to help using surplus food in a sustainable manner.
“MCC has provided food to City Harvest London, who help put fresh surplus food to good use in a sustainable way, redistributing to organisations that feed the hungry,” the club said.
Last week, the authorities at the Eden Gardens, the historic venue in eastern Indian city of Kolkata, offered their indoor facility and the players’ dormitory to the state government in order to be used as quarantine facilities.
“If government asks us, we will certainly hand over the facility. Anything that is need of the hour, we will do it. There is absolutely no problem,” Sourav Ganguly, President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and former President of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) said.
A number of smaller venues, like the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati in Assam, have also offered the venue for similar facilities.
A portion of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, venue of tennis grand slam event US Open, is set to transform into a 350-bed temporary hospital, Reuters adds from New York.
The site of the US Open and the crown jewel of American tennis, the venue has been thrust into the fray amid a medical crisis that has gripped the world and brought professional sports to a sudden and indefinite halt.
Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the tennis center, said that the conversion of an indoor tennis facility on the venue would begin Tuesday.
“We’re here to help no two ways about it,” Widmaier said. “New York is our home, we’re all in this together.” New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) informed the United States Tennis Association (USTA) of its plans on Monday, after previously telling the organization that the tennis center was a potential venue for auxiliary medical care.
“The site is likely to be non-Covid patients, and we will evaluate based on need,” NYCEM spokesman Omar Bourne said.
He added that the city is “actively working to identify spaces that can be used to expand hospital capacity throughout the five boroughs,” but did not elaborate.