Football News

Chelsea to aid coronavirus response by paying for NHS staff hotel accommodation

By Chris Smith

Published: 10:54, 18 March 2020

Chelsea have joined the battle against the coronavirus by allowing NHS staff to use their Millenium Hotel free of charge.

COVID-19 has plunged world football — and sport as a whole — into chaos with only a handful of leagues still playing as the virus spreads.

How are Chelsea helping the coronavirus cause? Five things to know…

  • COVID-19 has put a halt to the vast majority of sports around the world.
  • Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted the virus last week.
  • But the youngster is now close to a full recovery.
  • Chelsea bosses Roman Abramovic and Bruce Buck are allowing NHS staff to use the club’s Millenium Hotel free of charge for at least two months.
  • Abramovich will be covering the full cost of the hotel’s use for the duration.

Global healthcare systems are under incredible strain as cases of the virus continue to rise — Chelsea themselves felt the effects of the pandemic as winger Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted COVID-19 last week.

And in a bid to help the cause, Roman Abramovich and Bruce Buck have opened up the club’s Millenium Hotel as accommodation for NHS staff free of charge for at least two months.

A statement on Chelsea’s official website read: “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.

“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.

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“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.

“Millennium Hotels and Resorts, who manage the hotel, are supportive and assisting the club in providing this service to the NHS.”

Hudson-Odoi close to “full recovery”, says Lampard

As a result of Hudson-Odoi contracting coronavirus, Chelsea entire playing and backroom staff were told to self-isolate last week.

Hudson-Odoi released a video on social media explaining his situation and, now, manager Frank Lampard has revealed the youngster is close to making a full recovery.

“I’m happy to say that in Callum’s case, he has made great progress and almost feels his usual self, which is obviously the news we all want to hear,” Lampard said.

“I am of course aware that not everyone can or will recover from this virus, so I urge all of the football and sporting community to continue to act responsibly and look out for the health of others.

“I want to make it clear that I am no medical expert when it comes to challenging times such as these but please do take the time to call older relatives and vulnerable people who might be alone, or offer to drop round shopping if they can’t get out. Let’s make sure we all take care of each other.

“Social distancing can leave us feeling isolated, however, we can continue to support each other even if that means doing it remotely.”

Jamie Redknapp defends Mount “mistake”

Young midfielder Mason Mount angered Chelsea fans and the wider community after he was spotted playing football in a park with West Ham star and childhood friend Declan Rice, breaking his isolation after Hudson-Odoi had contracted COVID-19.

Mount has since apologised for his error in judgement and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has now jumped to the England international’s defence, insisting the incident was just a simple mistake which he can learn from.

“He’s made a mistake,” Redknapp said on Sky Sports’ The Debate. “He’s a great kid, a really nice boy, well educated, he’s got a lovely family behind him.

Mason Mount started Chelsea's Boxing Day defeat to Southampton on the bench.

Mason Mount started Chelsea’s Boxing Day defeat to Southampton on the bench.

“He’s made a mistake, I remember making plenty of mistakes when I was his age. And I’m sure with Frank and everybody at the club, they’ll stick by him.

“We’ve all done stupid things in our time. He is a brilliant young man, that’s all I can say.

“We all want to get back to watching football and not sit here talking about something that’s so serious but that’s life, we just have to get on with it.

“He loves the game and that’s the problem but as I say it was just the wrong time for him to do it.

“Knowing him, I’ve met him a few times, he’ll feel so bad about what he’s done. He’s made a big mistake but there will be people all around the world who should be self-isolating that are not.

“So let’s just forget about it now, he’s made a mistake and everybody just moves on.”

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