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The venue, close to Birmingham Airport, hosts events including Crufts

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is “ready and willing” to become a temporary field hospital if required during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Birmingham site, which host events including Crufts, could see exhibition halls used to treat patients.

NEC group chief executive Paul Thandi said they were “committed to playing our part” should the need arise.

On Tuesday it was announced the ExCel Centre in London will become a field hospital with 4,000 beds.

The NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group said a “national announcement” was expected, but was unable to give any further details.

In a statement, Mr Thandi said: “As a cornerstone of the local community, we are committed to playing our part in ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone in our area.

“As such, we stand ready and willing to help our emergency services – especially at a time like this.

“The NEC is well equipped to be used as a support base if such need arises so please be assured, that if we are requested to do so, we can action this with immediate effect.”

Officials there are in contact with police, the local NHS Trust and the fire service, he added.

Meanwhile, some 250,000 people have signed up in a single day to volunteer with the NHS after a recruitment drive to help the vulnerable amid the crisis.

The helpers are needed for delivering food and medicines, driving patients to appointments and phoning the isolated.

The scheme is one of a number aimed at relieving pressure on the NHS.

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