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Birmingham Airport mortuary stored nearly 400 bodies

Nearly 400 bodies were kept at a temporary mortuary set up at Birmingham Airport at the height of the coronavirus crisis, it has emerged.

The temporary mortuary at Birmingham Airport

The emergency morgue was created in a bid to ease pressure on hospital during the first and second Covid waves.

It was built on the south side of the airport and was big enough to store 1,500 bodies but held 395 during its time of use, data from West Midlands Police has shown.

Bodies of people who have died from Covid were stored there until funeral arrangements could be made.

Its creation in April 2020 painted a bleak picture of the crisis the country was facing in the early stages of the first lockdown as the coronavirus deaths mounted in the region.

The mortuary was closed in September last year before being reopened again in February during the second lockdown. It was closed again in April this year as deaths began to come down again, 12 months after it was first used.

It was set up as an emergency response as space was running out at existing morgues to ensure those who had died would be treated with dignity.

Birmingham and Solihull coroner Louise Hunt said at the time "dignity and respect for the deceased and the bereaved continues to be our primary consideration".

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