Swine flu cheer
A city council is considering using 19th century catacombs to store the bodies of swine flu
victims if the outbreak worsens, it was confirmed today.
Exeter city council has identified the empty underground burial chambers, currently used as a tourist attraction, as a potential mortuary.
A council spokesman said the plan would be implemented if the crematorium and cemeteries could not keep up with funeral demands.
"We have some empty catacombs in an old cemetery in the city," he said. "These are 19th century underground burial chambers which are normally a tourist attraction. They can, however, be safely used for their original purpose and allow us to temporarily store bodies in the remote possibility that the need should arise."
So far at least 31 people have died in the UK after contracting the virus. Yesterday, the World Health Organisation said 800 people had now died worldwide from the H1N1 virus and as many as 2 billion people could eventually be infected.
Doctors have warned that NHS intensive care wards could be overwhelmed
by severely ill swine flu
patients if infection rates climb rapidly.