Temporary morgues are being opened at Sunderland Royal Hospital and South Tyneside District Hospital to prepare for the potential increase in coronavirus deaths around the region.

A joint statement from Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said the morgues are part of contingency arrangements which are being put in place to prepare for a peak in cases:

These temporary facilities will provide short-term 'rest' areas for those who have sadly died as a result of COVID-19. They will not be a place for families to visit loved ones, but will provide a safe and dignified environment, whilst funeral arrangements are made.'

Joint media statement on behalf of Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Over the coming days Ministry Of Defence staff will be transporting and installing the temporary facilities which will be screened from the public.

The locations have been chosen based on practicality and space available and do not reflect the number of anticipated deaths in each area.