YORK manufacturer Portakabin looks set to construct temporary morgues to help the authorities cope with the rising death toll from coronavirus.

The Government is said to have been coordinating plans for the creation of a network of temporary mortuaries, located in the worst-hit areas of the country, if - in a worst case scenario - existing morgues are overwhelmed.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association board, which oversees public health, told The Guardian that many were being supplied by Portakabin, which is based at New Lane, Huntington.

He said councils engaged in planning as part of local resilience forums were identifying sites for the temporary buildings, which could be erected rapidly depending on where the most deaths happen.

Some of the morgues could be located on council or Ministry of Defence land.

Mr Hudspeth said: “It’s a very difficult subject for everyone concerned, but we do need to talk about it and we need to find capacity where we need it.

“If a location is identified, people who live in the neighbourhood might be concerned about having a facility near them, but it will be done with precautions. Discreet locations would be preferable rather than clearly visible, because neighbours might find it distressing.”

A Government spokesperson said it was undertaking "contingency planning for every eventuality".

A spokeswoman for Portakabin confirmed it was working closely with government and the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have provided a variety of buildings and continue to offer solutions when and where they are needed most,” she said.

“Portakabin regularly works with government and the NHS and we’re proud to be able to support our nation’s healthcare system at this incredibly challenging time.”

She said the firm made versatile buildings for every healthcare requirement, adding: "A Portakabin Design and Build modular building solution can be designed to provide everything from GP surgeries and open-plan wards, to complete hospital complexes incorporating consulting rooms, operating theatres and A&E.”