A thousand-bed hospital in the coronavirus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan started admitting patients today after it was completed last night, just 10 days after construction began on 23 January.
A second makeshift hospital, similar in size and speed of construction, was 75% complete yesterday and is expected to open this Thursday, 6 February.
As the epicentre of the outbreak, Wuhan has struggled to cope with the exploding number of cases, which went from a confirmed 495 on 23 January to 4,109 on 1 February, state news agency Xinhua reports.
- See Wuhan’s Huoshenshan Hospital go up in 10 days in CGTN’s time-lapse video:
A total of 1,400 medical staff from China’s armed forces have been drafted in to treat patients from today at the first hospital, called Huoshenshan, Chinese for "Fire God Mountain".
Fifty-seven people died from the novel form of pneumonia yesterday in China, all but one of them in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
- See work on Wuhan’s second coronavirus hospital, Leishenshan ("Thunder God Mountain") set for completion on Thursday, 6 February:
Coronavirus has now surpassed the 2003 Sars outbreak in deadliness, with 362 fatalities recorded as of today by Johns Hopkins University, and 17,485 confirmed cases, almost all in China.Â
This morning China’s foreign ministry asked the world for medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles, since China’s factories can produce only around 20 million masks a day.
To mobilise so quickly on the two Wuhan hospitals, authorities replicated one built in Beijing for the Sars epidemic.
- See construction of internal medical staff residential units under construction at the Leishenshan hospital yesterday:
They spent just five hours on the design plan and had a draft within 24 hours, according to Xinhua.
Three companies were ordered to build Huoshenshan Hospital. Thousands of workers operated more than 800 units of machinery, and worked in shifts around the clock.
"For a project of this scale, it usually takes at least two years," Fang Xiang, a project manager for one of the companies, told Xinhua.
"It takes at least a month to construct a temporary building, not to mention a new hospital for infectious diseases."
Another construction employee told the news agency it was a challenge to provide adequate food and shelter on site for all the workers.
"I have never participated in such an urgent task, and I have never seen so many companies involved in a single project," said Shen Kai, another employee.
Top image: Wuhan’s Huoshenshan Hospital being built in 10 days (Still from broadcaster CGTN’s time-lapse video)