Chelsea FC makes its stadium hotel available to UK health-care staff fighting COVID-19
Updated 02:12, 19-Mar-2020
Daniel Harries
Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Chelsea Football Club has made the four-star Millennium Hotel at its Stamford Bridge stadium in London available to health-care workers to provide accommodation to staff as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of the Premier League club, will cover the costs of providing accommodation and the Chelsea has made all rooms available to the UK's National Health Service (NHS) if required.

"Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes," Chelsea said in a statement. "Local accommodation helps maintain the health and wellbeing of these crucial personnel at this critical time.

"NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the North-West London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts."

The club said the offer was for a two-month period and would be reviewed, depending on the situation, in May.

READ MORE: 1,000-plus UK volunteers groups spring up to fight COVID-19

The English Premier League has been suspended until 4 April due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to an unprecedented suspension of world sport.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 198,300 people and more than 8,400 have died. The UK has 1,950 confirmed cases, with 71 deaths.

The UK's health secretary, Matt Hancock, previously suggested that hotels could be utilized as an extension of the health service. 

"Some people are saying: 'Should you build a hospital?'" Hancock told the BBC. Adding: "Actually, we've seen that many hotels are empty, so we've got ready-built facilities for looking after people."

Meanwhile, the Best Western hotel chain is considering turning some of its properties into temporary hospitals to help the already stretched NHS.

Best Western's CEO, Rob Paterson, said the chain "would be willing to take unprecedented steps to support the national effort."

Source(s): Reuters