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SEHA - Field Hospitals



From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) focused on providing support to government relief efforts for the pandemic. All three of our exhibition centres were transformed into field hospitals, supporting COVID-19 relief efforts in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.


ADNEC Group was clear from the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic: these exceptional circumstances required exceptional support. At the pandemic’s height in April 2020, ensuring hospital capacity in Abu Dhabi was a critical priority for the government and public health services. Our flexible infrastructure helped relieve medical infrastructure in the UAE and the UK along with our proficiency in turning around these projects with speed and effect.  ADNEC worked on mitigation strategies to ensure that all facilities under the umbrella of the group were involved including Capital Hospitality, ADNEC Services and ADNEC’s on site hotels.


ADNEC worked closely with SEHA – Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, and other government entities to rapidly and cohesively transform the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) and the Al Ain Convention Centre (AACC) into field hospitals with ADNEC’s field hospital opening on April 22, 2020 and AACC’s field hospital opening on May 27, 2020.

ADNEC Services, ADNEC’s event services division, was responsible for the rapid transformation of the centres into field hospitals, managing the change in only four weeks. The field hospital at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre could accommodate 1,000 patients, while Al Ain Convention Centre accommodated 500 patients. Each facility contained recreation and fitness areas - including a running track and stationary bicycles for patients, laboratories and break rooms for medical staff.

In alignment with UAE government guidelines to effectively combat COVID-19, ADNEC also worked with in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Ports in ensuring food storage for food security during this stage of the pandemic in the capital.

Capital Hospitality, ADNEC’s in-house catering arm supplied nutritious meals at both the Abu Dhabi and Al Ain venues for the field hospitals, front line workers and quarantined individuals serving in excess of half a million meals from April to December 2020.

Concurrently, ADNEC’s London exhibition centre, ExCeL London, was given over to the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS), to be used as the NHS Nightingale Hospital London which opened on April 3, 2020. The hospital had a capacity of 4,000 beds, providing a comprehensive range of medical support facilities for those infected with COVID-19. ADNEC worked closely with public health officials in the United Kingdom to ensure that they had adequate provision during the establishment of the NHS Nightingale Hospital London.

Following the height of the pandemic, both the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company and Al Ain Convention Centre were converted once again into mass-testing centres. With the provision of mass, secure testing for COVID-19 a central pillar of the Abu Dhabi government’s wider COVID-19 mitigation strategy, ADNEC was keen to continue to support the government in overcoming the pandemic’s impacts.

Finally, ADNEC was used as a trial centre for the Phase III clinical trials of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. With the creation of a viable vaccine against COVID-19 a central priority for public health protection, ADNEC sought to ensure researchers had access to ADNEC’s wide range of flexible infrastructure to effectively test the trial vaccine.


ADNEC’s exhibition centres had capacity for over 5,000 beds during the COVID-19 pandemic, alleviating pressure on other medical resources in Abu Dhabi and London and supporting wider healthcare infrastructure during the pandemic.

ADNEC provided 1,985,337 quarantine meals, 508,380 field hospital meals and 2,444,581 catered meals along with 119,127 manpower including the Abu Dhabi Convention Centre.

A large number of individuals were tested for COVID-19 at ADNEC’s centres, and another 33,000 participated in the Phase III trial for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. These efforts contributed to Abu Dhabi being able to test its wider population during the pandemic, as well as being able to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, after the vaccine received regulatory approval in December 2020.

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