BEIJING (AFP) - China has deployed 450 military medical staff, some with experience combating SARS or Ebola, to a central city stricken by a virus that has killed dozens of people, state media said Saturday (Jan 25).
The medics, who arrived in Wuhan on military aircraft late Friday, will be dispatched to hospitals with large numbers of infected patients, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The move marks a dramatic escalation in the central government's involvement to contain the virus, which has killed 41 people and infected 1,287 others across the country.
It also follows reports of bed shortages in hospitals designated to deal with the outbreak in Wuhan, which has borne the brunt of the health emergency.
The government has even started construction on a special hospital in Wuhan to deal with the virus, with plans to finish it within a staggering 10 days.
Xinhua said the military team is composed of experts in respiratory health, infectious diseases, hospital infection control and intensive care.
In a sign Wuhan authorities are feeling the pressure, Hubei governor Jiang Chaoliang said in a meeting Friday that Wuhan must "make every effort" to increase isolation places and beds.
Hospitals must also make sure patients are "admitted in time," according to a statement on the government's website.