Coronavirus: China to build hospital in 11 days to tackle crisis

24 Jan 20

Authorities in coronavirus-hit Wuhan in central China have said they are building a 1,000-bed hospital in just 11 days to respond to the epidemic.

The Hubei province’s government said work began on Thursday night, and the 25,000-square-metre hospital will be ready by 3 February.

Officials said the hospital is “absolutely necessary” to ease demand on existing medical resources.

The hospital follows the example of the Beijing Xiaotanghan Hospital, built in just seven days in 2003 as a response to the SARS outbreak.

Of the 680 SARS patients admitted to Xiaotanghan, just eight people died, according to Chinese authorities.

There had been at least 830 confirmed cases of pneumonia from the coronavirus in mainland China as of midnight on Thursday, as well as 26 deaths, but although there have been cases of the disease confirmed in other countries, World Health Organisation president Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the crisis “has not yet become a global health emergency”.

In Wuhan, where the majority of cases have been reported, public transport has been shut down and access into 10 cities in Hubei has been restricted.

Government-run news website Xinhua has reported that state-owned enterprises have been mobilised to combat the outbreak, including telecoms operators deploying emergency schemes to ensure smooth communications in Hubei.

State-owned pharmaceutical manufacturers have also been told to hasten their production of test kits and medical appliances, as well as being asked to develop vaccines against the virus.

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