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FESPA space turned into field hospital

The exhibition space which was due to host FESPA Global Print Expo has been turned into a field hospital to treat coronavirus patients.

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The IFEMA has been used to create a space for 5,500 extra hospital beds

The three-day event was due to begin today with the European Sign Expo and the debut Sportswear Pro running alongside at the IFEMA in Madrid.

Speaking to El Independiente [the Spanish Independent] Eduardo López-Puertas, chief executive officer of IFEMA, says: “Things are valued when they are needed and at this moment the need has been seen and IFEMA has been there. It is our vocation; these are our values and it is what we have to do.”

With almost 2,000 people currently being treated in Intensive Care Units (ICU) in Spain, hospitals are in need of more space.

According to López-Puertas, as soon as the exhibition centre had to cancel its spring fairs, it made the space available to the Ministry, City Council and Community.

In order for nurses to gain access to as many patients as possible, an open space was needed, making IFEMA the ideal location. The space has also been fitted with an acrylic floor, new piping. Three electrical outlets, an air intake, and a water intake for each bed.

The hospital itself was created in just 18 hours over the weekend with people working day and night to have it ready as soon as possible. The Spanish military has also helped to transport patients from local hospitals to the centre.

Hall 9 of the centre has 750 beds ready, as well as four ICUs with 16 beds in each. In pavilion 7, a total of 550 beds have been placed as well as two ICU spaces with 36 beds in total. This means the IFEMA has opened up space for up to 5,500 beds, both conventional and ICU.

In addition to creating the field hospital, IFEMA has opened Hall 14 to Spain’s homeless community. López-Puertas explains: “We have created a shelter so that they can be in the best possible conditions with television rooms and recreation rooms.”

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