China builds more hospitals as coronavirus toll touches 259
Beijing, February 1, 2020
More hospitals designed to replicate the SARS treatment model were popping up across China as the country mobilizes medical resources to contain the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed 259 people in the Asian giant.
Beijing has begun to renovate the city's Xiaotangshan Hospital, formerly used to quarantine and treat SARS patients, Xinhua news agency said in a report on Saturday.
Whether the hospital will be put into use will be based on the future development of the outbreak, officials said.
In the treatment and control of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread rapidly on the Chinese mainland in 2003, Beijing built Xiaotangshan Hospital, a temporary medical centre in the northern suburb of the city, in just a week.
The hospital admitted one-seventh of the SARS patients in the country within two months. It requires renovation due to some aging facilities and pipelines.
Now, several cities are building their own versions of Xiaotangshan.
Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, is building two hospitals to treat patients. The two facilities are expected to be put into use on February 3 and 5.
Workers, trucks and excavators are racing against the clock to meet the deadline at the construction sites.
On Wednesday evening, construction of power facilities concluded at Leishenshan Hospital, one of the two Wuhan sites.
In only three days, more than 300 workers toiled to install and adjust 7-km-long high-voltage cables and 26 supporting facilities.
The hospital will accommodate 1,600 beds, 300 more than the previous design. It will expand to 60,000 square meters and provide working space to over 2,000 medical staff.
Meanwhile, more than 4,000 workers have been toiling away at the second Huoshenshan Hospital site day and night. They have finished about 400 prefab rooms so far. Work is largely complete on the main pipeline of the drainage system at the hospital site.
More than 900 km away, dozens of bulldozers and cranes are working on a 3,000-square-meter plot of land for a hospital to isolate and treat patients infected with the coronavirus in the suburb of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province.
The first phase will include an outpatient building and isolation wards with 200 beds. It will be ready for use on Sunday.
The second phase will cover an area of 5,100 square meters and work will be completed within 20 days.
In Heilongjiang province, authorities have planned a similar hospital in the provincial capital Harbin.