LONDON’S THE O2 (cap. 21,000) has become the latest major UK venue to operate as an NHS facility during the COVID-19 crisis.
The AEG-owned venue will be used as an NHS educational training facility from 12 April to 29 June. Health service staff trained at the venue will go on to work at the 4,000-bed Nightingale hospital at the ExCel.
The O2 was offered to the NHS free of charge.
Elsewhere, venues being equipped as Nightingale hospitals should the demand for admissions require it, include Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre complex, which houses the Resorts World Arena (15,000), and the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, which encompasses the SSE Hydro arena (13,000).
In Northern Ireland, The SSE Arena Belfast (10,800) has been transformed into a COVID-19 testing centre for NHS staff.
Meanwhile, another London venue, The SSE Arena, Wembley (12,500), managed by AEG, is to host free concerts this autumn for NHS frontline workers, featuring Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbot on 15 October and Rick Astley on 1 November.