Construction of the Eurovision 2020 stage was meant to begin around April 6. But as The Netherlands continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus, the Rotterdam Ahoy is now being turned into a temporary care facility instead.
As AD reports, plans for such a facility have been underway for months as a contingency to support the Dutch medical system should there be a shortage of beds owing to Covid-19. The facility will have up to 680 beds spread over four different halls — including one for patients with coronavirus. It will welcome and care for patients who do not have to stay in hospital, but who cannot yet return to their homes. That frees up space at overstretched hospitals, allowing them to focus on treating coronavirus patients who are in a more critical state.
Jolanda Jansen — director of the Ahoy — tells the paper that she sent an email to city officials last week asking how she could help.
“After the decision that the Eurovision should not take place…we immediately realized that there were important issues,” she said. “Just how important — that you can now see.”
Rotterdam Ahoy becomes temporary care facility
According to local news outlet Rijnmond.nl, the first patients are expected to arrive in mid-April. Officials began transforming the first hall on Monday morning. They will convert four separate halls and, if necessary, the arena itself.
The various halls will be filled with individual units — akin to a hospital room — and each will house four patients.
Arjen Littooij, director of safety for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region, said nurses and doctors will be on location: “It will actually be a small hospital that we will put up here in a short time.”
This is an all-hands-on-deck situation and the director has appealed for volunteers.
“We expect that the first patients will be here from April 13,” he said. “If there are people who can offer help, sign up. We can use all hands right now.”
You can register via the website of De Rotterdamse Zorg or via their Facebook page .