Coronavirus: Wuhan to build 19 more makeshift hospitals as China struggles to contain epidemic

Patients in the Wuhan Fang Cang makeshift hospital. Facing a shortage of beds amid the coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan has put into use 12 temporary hospitals converted from gyms, convention or exhibition centres. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WUHAN (XINHUA) - Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, plans to build another 19 makeshift hospitals to receive more infected patients, local authorities said Friday (Feb 21).

Upon their completion, all the makeshift hospitals in Wuhan are expected to offer 30,000 beds on Feb 25, said Mr Hu Yabo, deputy mayor of Wuhan at a press briefing on epidemic prevention and control.

To date, Wuhan has converted 13 existing venues into temporary hospitals, with a total of 13,348 beds, and about 9,313 beds have been put into use to treat patients with mild symptoms, said Mr Hu.

To improve their medical treatment capability, every makeshift hospital will be supplied with CT scanners and other medical equipment including ECG monitors, Mr Hu added.

Meanwhile, among these makeshift hospitals will be one converted from a factory. It will boast the largest number of beds among the city's makeshift hospitals.

The Rihai temporary hospital with 3,690 beds completed construction and passed checks on Thursday, according to one of its constructors, CCCC Second Harbour Engineering Company.

The hospital was converted from four empty plants, covering a total area of 54,000 square metres.

Mr Liu Yiquan, the project chief with the company, said ventilation and air purification systems were added in the hospital to ensure the air quality, which he said posed a major challenge for isolation wards of huge size. The wastewater produced by the hospital will also be disinfected before discharge, Mr Liu said.

Apart from air-conditioning, shower rooms and mobile toilets, the hospital is also complete with leisure areas, including libraries, movie areas and snack bars for patients to read and relax.

Remote video URL

Wuhan's temporary hospitals, converted from gyms and convention and exhibition centres, have been set up as the city faces a shortage of beds amid the coronavirus epidemic. The hospitals are meant mainly to treat patients with mild symptoms.

About 72 medical teams from other regions of China have been dispatched to these temporary hospitals to aid local colleagues to treat patients and contain the virus spread.

The total number of confirmed cases in hard-hit Wuhan has reached 45,346 as of Thursday.

Across mainland China, more than 75,000 people have been infected and 2,236 have died from the virus.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.