The Principality Stadium in Cardiff Central will be used as a field hospital to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has announced that the stadium will be repurposed in anticipation of a surge in Covid-19 patients.

The temporary field hospital will have the capacity to hold up to 2,000 beds for patients suffering from the virus and will relieve pressure at nearby hospitals, including the University Hospital Llandough and the University Hospital of Wales in Heath.

Len Richards, CEO of the stadium, said: “Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has been planning and making preparations based upon the modelling and predictions of numbers of patients and admissions across a range of different scenarios, including best to reasonable case scenarios.

“The assumptions have been well documented following publication by Imperial College, London, and as a Health Board we felt it incumbent to ensure that we plan and prepare for all scenarios.

“It is difficult looking at the numbers to appreciate the size and the scale of the task ahead of us in the NHS. However we have been using the past few weeks’ wisely in order to put structures and processes in place across our main hospital sites, University Hospital Wales and University Hospital Llandough. In addition to this we have secured the Principality Stadium, Cardiff as a temporary field hospital with the capacity to hold up to an additional 2,000 beds.”

He continued: “I understand the concern that this will cause, not only in the community but among my staff too. However we are planning on the basis of what we think we might need to ensure we are as ready as we can be.

"I sincerely hope we don’t need to use all of the capacity but it is far better to have developed plans based upon the scientific evidence and modelling of the experts.

“The staffing levels and type of patients received at the hospital is part of our planning and is constantly being refined in line with the trajectory of the Coronavirus.

" The facility will allow us to free up capacity at our other hospital sites so that we can continue to provide services to patients with other health conditions.

“Clinicians and managers are currently working with the Principality Stadium team and a range of specialist contractors to create the new facility at pace.

" The work has already started with teams assigned to adapt the home of Welsh rugby to a temporary hospital - a significant task in scale and the timing of the virus.”

“I would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the NHS staff through an unprecedented and challenging time in health. Also across our society and communities: Please help us to help you by staying home, washing your hands and heeding the clinical advice to keep you and your families safe.”

Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething commented on the plans:

“Health boards are working closely with Welsh Government to take all possible steps to prepare Wales for the coronavirus and that involves preparing for the worst case scenario modelling.

“I have made £8m in capital funding available to Cardiff and Vale to help with that planning for hospital and community beds.

“Cardiff and Vale, along with health boards across Wales, are working hard to get ready to look after and treat people who become sick and are looking at venues like the Principality Stadium to provide space for hospital and community beds in the coming weeks.”

In the last 24 hours Public Health Wales has reported 26 new cases of the virus in Cardiff and the Vale, bringing the total number of cases to 282.