The O2 arena is set to open as an NHS training facility, it has been announced.

The venue, which is one of the UK’s largest arenas, will open as a training facility on 12 April and is set to close 29 June.

The staff trained there will go on to work at the NHS Nightingale temporary hospital set up at ExCeL London, which is a short distance from The O2.

A press release from The O2 stated: “While this will require further rescheduling of events booked to take place during this period, the priority for us all at this time is to help save lives and we know our customers will understand our desire to support the NHS in this way. The rest of The O2 will remain closed to the public until further notice.

“We encourage our customers to play their part during these difficult times by following government instructions to stay at home and practice social distancing.”

Steve Sayer, VP and GM of The O2 said:  “We are honoured that The O2 arena, usually buzzing with thousands of music fans, is being transformed into a vital NHS training facility to help on-board the additional staff needed to save lives at this crucial time. We would like extend our gratitude to the NHS, emergency services and key workers who are working so hard to keep us safe.”