A TEMPORARY mortuary capable of holding 500 bodies is being installed at Swindon’s Great Western Hospital as the authorities plan for further coronavirus deaths.

Wiltshire Council is overseeing the development of the mortuary. A similarly-sized facility is also planned at Salisbury District Hospital.

The bodies of those who die having tested positive for coronavirus will be kept in the temperature-controlled mortuaries for up to 28 days before they can be released to families for burial or cremation.

The Adver understands the Swindon mortuary will be sited on a car park at GWH

Alistair Cunningham and Terence Herbert, joint chief executives of Wiltshire Council, said in a statement:

“Wiltshire Council is working closely with partners including the Coroner, Swindon Borough Council, Wiltshire Police, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital and the Army should the impact of the pandemic become more severe.

“We are establishing temperature-controlled storage facilities at Great Western Hospital and Salisbury District Hospital to rest those who have lost their lives from COVID-19.

“These sites are protected by private security contractors with support from Wiltshire Police. We would ask that the public and media respect the privacy of these facilities.

“In line with government guidance, the deceased will be stored at these facilities for up to 28 days, before being taken to cemeteries and crematoriums in Wiltshire and Swindon for burial or cremation.

“Deaths from natural causes or other diseases will be handled by independent funeral directors.

“All those who pass away will be treated with dignity and respect at all times.”