By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. state of Maryland has leased two ice skating rinks as temporary morgues amid coronavirus-related deaths, according to an official.
Maryland Health Secretary Robert R. Neall announced the move to confront the potential for increased deaths, said local media.
"On the grim side, I leased two skating rinks last week for makeshift morgues, so you know what’s coming,” the Maryland Matter website quoted Neall.
Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, said Tuesday the move is a "precautionary measure" and in line with guideline by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We plan for all contingencies," Ricci said on Twitter. "If we focus on staying home and slowing the spread, this won't be necessary."
As of Tuesday, Maryland registered 4,371 cases of the virus and 103 fatalities, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Known as COVID-19, the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. It has since spread to 184 countries and regions, claiming more than 80,000 lives.
The U.S. has become the country with the most infections worldwide with more than 380,000 confirmed infections, 12,000 deaths and 20,100 recoveries.