Coronavirus: China completes new hospital in Wuhan in 10 days as infections top 17,000

Prefabricated hospital features 30 intensive care units, autonomous robots and video-link with Beijing

Tim Wyatt
Monday 03 February 2020 09:22 GMT
Timelapse video shows China's emergency coronavirus hospital built within 10 days

A new 1,000-bed hospital has been built in just 10 days in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The first patients have already begun arriving at the prefabricated Huoshenshan hospital, which was thrown up by the authorities after the scale of the epidemic became clear.

Thousands of construction workers toiled 24 hours a day to complete the two-storey, 60,000 square metre structure, which has 30 intensive care units.

Only those suffering from the coronavirus will be admitted to Huoshenshan, which is designed to take the strain off Wuhan’s existing hospitals.

A leading Chinese epidemiologist, Zhong Nanshan, said the extra space was critical to stopping the spread of the virus.

“The lack of hospital rooms forced sick people to return home, which is extremely dangerous. So having additional [beds] available is a great improvement,” he told the state-run broadcaster CCTV.

Despite massive quarantine efforts which have effectively cut off dozens of cities, including Wuhan, from the outside world, the mystery virus has continued to spread.

Chinese authorities said on Monday the total number of confirmed cases was now more than 18,000, and there had been 414 deaths.

A second emergency hospital, this time with enough space for 1,500 beds, is also being built in Wuhan and is expected to be finished in the next few days.

To bolster the exhausted and overwhelmed medical staff in Wuhan, the Chinese army is sending 1,400 doctors and nurses to the city.

Inside Huoshenshan, about half of the prefabricated units which make up the structure are isolation wards, according to the government-run newspaper Yangtze Daily.

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A high-tech video-link system allows doctors there to discuss cases with specialists in Beijing, over a thousand kilometres away.

It also features double-sided cabinets inside patient rooms so staff can deliver supplies and food from the hallways without having to enter.

A Shanghai newspaper also reported an unnamed Chinese tech company had donated medical robots which can deliver medicines and test samples around the hospital.

Huoshenshan has been modelled on a similar prefabricated hospital thrown up in a few days in Beijing during the Sars virus outbreak in 2003.

That building is currently being renovated but authorities have yet to say if it will be used for coronavirus patients.

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