Coronavirus - Old Upper Heyford bomber hangars to be used as temporary morgues for coronavirus victims.

Three of the hangars at the former USAF air base in Upper Heyford are to be turned temporarily into morgues for nearly 1,500 coronavirus victims.

By Roseanne Edwards
Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:18 pm
Hangars at the former RAF base at Upper Heyford. Three hangars on the site are to be prepared as a temporary morgue for coronavirus victims
Hangars at the former RAF base at Upper Heyford. Three hangars on the site are to be prepared as a temporary morgue for coronavirus victims

In a statement on their website the council says: "In common with all other areas of the country there are long-standing contingency plans to provide extra mortuary space during emergency situations.

"Partners from organisations including the NHS, registration services, coroner’s office and local authorities have been meeting regularly to consider requirements that may be placed upon Oxfordshire during the coronavirus outbreak.

"This has led to a temporary facility being prepared at the former RAF base at Heyford Park which will be used if required."

The council said there would be 'very strong commitment' to the dignity and respect required in dealing with the deceased and bereaved families, including all faiths and traditions.

All of the normal standards and protocols relating to mortuary facilities will be observed at this site, which will be managed in line with national requirements.

The site will be managed in a way that does not cause difficulties for residents in the local area, including those in the village of Upper Heyford.

A total of three units have been identified on the Heyford Park site, with a set-up providing a total capacity to store up to 1,480 bodies.

The council's statement corrects some national reports that the temporary mortuary would have space for up to 6,000 bodies. And they have corrected claims that the mortuary would be used for children. It will be for adults only.

It is now known how long bodies may need to be stored in these facilities.

The former RAF base was home to units of Bomber Command during World War Two and later was headquarters of the United States Air Force 20th Tactical Fighter Wing.

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