The Chinese city of Wuhan is rapidly building a new 1,000-bed hospital to contain and treat the deadly coronavirus and mobilizing machinery to get it ready by early next week, state media said.
The virus has killed 25 people in China and infected more than 800, the government said on Friday, as the World Health Organisation declared it an emergency but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.
Most of the cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated late last year.
the official Changjiang Daily reported on Friday that the new hospital is being built around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.
Prefabricated buildings which will have 1,000 beds will be put up, it said.
China Global Television Network (CGTN) also shared a video of the construction site via its verified Twitter handle on Friday.
In the footage, building machinery, including diggers and bulldozers, which were said to have arrived at the site on Thursday night, were already seen at work with the aim to get the new facility ready within the set time.
“The construction of this project is to solve the shortage of existing medical resources” the report said. “Because it will be prefabricated buildings, it will not only be built fast but it also won’t cost much.”
The hospital aims to copy the experience of Beijing in 2003, when the city battled Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As many as 774 people died in the SARS epidemic, which reached nearly 30 countries.
At the time, Beijing built the Xiaotangshan hospital in its northern suburbs in just a week. Within two months, it treated one-seventh of all the country’s SARS patients, the Changjiang Daily said.
“It created a miracle in the history of medical science,” the paper added.
The Beijing hospital, built by 7,000 workers, was originally designed only to take people who were in recovery from SARS to relieve pressure on other hospitals.
In the end it treated nearly 700 SARS patients.
The hospital is designed to have an area of 25,000 square meters with 1,000 beds and will be put into use by February 3 pic.twitter.com/ePQoxJnM0y
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) January 24, 2020