Chelsea, football

Football: Chelsea owner offers free hotel beds to hospital staff – New Zealand Herald

March 20, 2020

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will pay for National Health Service staff to stay at the club’s Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge for at least the next two months after personally taking the decision to help aid the coronavirus crisis.

Asymptomatic staff from north west London hospitals will now stay at the hotel to save long commutes.

A Chelsea statement read: “Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the NHS has accepted the club’s offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff.

“The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, is unable to enter the United Kingdom due to visa issues, but he has moved to help the crisis that is devastating the world.

Britain has been hit hard and, in particular, the capital city which has been a surge in cases and deaths.

A total 1,950 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number is estimated between 35,000 and 50,000.

More than 70 people who tested positive in the UK have died.

“Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time,” the statement added.

“This will be for a two-month period, and then reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time. NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the north-west London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts.

“The number of rooms utilised will depend on demand but potentially all the rooms in the Millennium Hotel could be given over for this purpose. No staff showing symptoms will use the hotel.”

With the football season suspended, Tottenham Hotspur have also pitched in by distributing surplus stadium food and drink to those in need within their community.