A Milton Keynes ice rink is being turned into an emergency mortuary to prepare for rise in coronavirus fatalities

Work has begun on turning Planet Ice ice rink in Milton Keynes into an emergency mortuary.

Screening was erected around the ice rink yesterday and today, workmen blocked off all pathways around the building and put up black tarpaulin to prevent anyone from seeing inside.

The plan is that the ice rink will be able to hold bodies if funeral directors become unable to cope with a rise in deaths from COVID-19.

The 2,800 capacity rink closed on Friday March 20 due to the coronavirus crisis and the governments instructions against mass gatherings.

So far, there has been at least 11 deaths in Milton Keynes linked to coronavirus - but these are only the cases of hospital fatalities.

A spokesperson for Milton Keynes council said:

"As part of sensible planning we are considering what additional temporary mortuary facilities may be needed in Milton Keynes if funeral directors are unable to cope with a rise in deaths from Covid-19. "We’re working with the owners of Planet Ice to ready the rink as a precaution should it be needed to support local operations. Part of Elder Gate (starting from South Elder roundabout) and a short section of Avebury Boulevard will be closed temporarily to facilitate this. The supermarket access is unaffected.

Milton Keynes council spokesperson