Dortmund stadium to be used as medical centre in virus crisis

Borussia Dortmund (AFP)
Borussia Dortmund (AFP)

Germany's biggest football stadium, Borussia Dortmund's Signal-Iduna-Park, is to be partially transformed into a medical centre to help treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the German Bundesliga club announced Friday.

"Our stadium is a symbol of the city... its technical, infrastructural and spatial set-up make it the ideal place to help people who are potentially infected," said club directors Hans-Joachim Watzke and Carsten Cramer in a statement.

Dortmund said they had transformed the north stand of the 81,000-capacity stadium - the one opposite the famous "Yellow Wall" - into a treatment centre in collaboration with a local medical association.

The centre will provide check-ups, issue prescription medicines and even offer initial treatment for those diagnosed with COVID-19.

It will be available only to those who are showing symptoms of the disease, and will be open daily from 12 noon to 4.00 pm.

"In this way, possible chains of infection can also be broken by avoiding contact to other patients, doctors and staff in the individual doctor's surgeries," the club said.

"It's obviously strange at first to go to a football stadium when you have fever and breathing difficulties, but we actually do have optimal conditions here," said Dirk Spelmeyer, chairman of the local Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KVWL).

He added that the stadium would relieve pressure on the other specialised coronavirus treatment centre in the north of the city.

The Signal-Iduna-Park is the second major European stadium to be used in the fight against the virus, after Spanish giants Real Madrid offered their Santiago Bernabeu -- another 81,000-seater -- to store medical equipment.

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