The FNB Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg could be used as a hospital for coronavirus patients. It will join the Nasrec Expo Centre as a  location earmarked to accommodate COVID-19 patients in the city.

According to Boogertman and Partners, an architecture firm who worked on the project, a team of professionals including architects, hospital design specialists and interior and urban designers began work on a 72-hour turnaround brief on March 28, two days after the lockdown started.

In collaboration with Geyser Hahn, and Blue IQ Infrastructure consultants, the architecture firm came together to deliver a proposal which they said they hoped would not materialise. The facility is not needed as yet, however, if the confirmed coronavirus cases climb to an unmanageable number for current health facilities, this proposal ensures that a plan is already in place. The firm said they were ” responding with urgency to prepare for the situation that would emerge with a fast infection rate which would overwhelm the existing Gauteng health infrastructure.”

They believe that a stadium is the perfect option for a field hospital. “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 minimise 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,” said the firm in a statement on their website.

The hospital design. Credit: Facebook / Boogertman + Partners Architects

The design allows for the accommodation of 1 500 beds.

The use of stadiums as potential hospitals seems to be a popular solution. According to a report by IOL, Cape Town Stadium, Athlone Stadium and the Bellville Velodrome will also be redesigned to accommodate COVID-19 patients if the numbers increase rapidly. The report said that both local and provincial officials confirmed the use of sports grounds and stadiums as part of the disaster management plan.

Pictures: Facebook / Boogertman + Partners Architects

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