Huoshenshan Hospital, a makeshift 1,000-bed facility in China’s Wuhan that was built in just 10 days, received its first coronavirus patients on Monday. A 1,500-bed facility in Leishenshan is due to open later this week.
The construction of the two hospitals in Wuhan, the city in central China worst affected by the ongoing viral epidemic, was ordered to keep the disease contained and prevent the risk of spreading the virus. It is consistent with Beijing’s way of dealing with the 2013 SARS outbreak, when a temporary hospital was erected north of the capital in just one week.
Huoshenshan was built near Zhiyin Lake in southwestern Wuhan by some 7,000 carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other construction specialists working around the clock. About 800 pieces of heavy equipment worked simultaneously to get the job done, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.
The new hospital is staffed by doctors, nurses and other personnel provided by the Chinese military, who sent 1,400 people to man it. Huoshenshan has 30 intensive care units, double-sided cabinets in which doctors can examine patients without entering isolation wards, robots to deliver food and medicine and take samples from patients, and a video system linked to the main military hospital in Beijing.
Watching the lightning-fast construction of the hospital via a live-stream became a source of national entertainment in China. Leishenshan Hospital is expected to be completed on Wednesday, with its construction also having taken 10 days. It will open its doors to patients on Thursday.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 2, 2020
The 2019-nCoV virus has infected some 17,000 people and killed more than 360 in Wuhan. The Chinese authorities restricted travel in the city and the surrounding Hubei Province in an attempt to stop the spread of the epidemic. The only death outside of China was reported in the Philippines last week.