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Work on a temporary mortuary at Birmingham Airport is nearing completion.

A part of the facility is already complete with the rest of the work expected to be ready by April 17 at the latest.

It is being used for storage as deaths in the West Midlands increase, and regional mortuaries reach capacity.

A hanger and land at the airport will initially accommodate 1,500 bodies.

Capacity could be expanded if usual mortuary provisions reach capacity, officers said.

Police say the bodies dealt with would be treated with the "utmost dignity and respect at all times".

They are urging bereaved families not to delay in making funeral arrangements for their loved ones - due to current restrictions regarding the number of attendees at funerals.

Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine chairs the Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) which oversees the multi-agency response said the work on the temporary mortuary is an example of they're working together 'to best serve our local people'.

“The SCG - made up of key agencies across West Midlands and Warwickshire - convenes every day to manage the multi-agency response to coronavirus.

Vanessa Jardine:
Credit: PA images

We understand that these current restrictions mean that you may not be able to arrange the service you want, but we ask you to consider an alternative such as a memorial service or celebration of life at a later date. "Other considerations include live streaming the cremation or burial to enable family members and friends to participate."

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said:

“Birmingham Airport can confirm it is working with the authorities to provide land and a hangar for a temporary mortuary site at the Elmdon side of Birmingham Airport, to support with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Birmingham Airport spokesperson:

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