China is rushing to build a 1,000-bed hospital in just 10 days to treat patients at the epicenter of the new coronavirus, which has killed at least 26 people, infected about 830 and prompted lockdowns in at least a dozen cities, according to reports.
The 270,000-square-foot in Wuhan is expected to be up and running by Feb. 3 and will aim “to address the insufficiency of existing medical resources,” city officials said, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
On the eve of the Lunar New Year, transportation was shut down Friday in 12 cities with a total of about 35 million, including Wuhan and its neighbors in central China’s Hubei province.
In 2003, China built a hospital on Beijing’s rural outskirts in barely a week to treat a rapidly rising number of people suffering from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed 349 people in mainland China and 299 in Hong Kong.
Xiaotangshan Hospital comprised prefabricated structures and Xinhua reported Friday that Wuhan was building the new facility based on the same model.
The city of over 11 million residents has been centralizing its treatment of the coronavirus by isolating patients in 61 clinics and designated hospitals.
Officials have said the news virus probably originated from wild animals at a seafood market in Wuhan but it has since spread to several countries around Asia and beyond.
Meanwhile, at least eight hospitals in Wuhan issued calls for donations of masks, googles, gowns and other protective gear, according to online notices online.
Officials at Wuhan University People’s Hospital set up a group chat on the popular WeChat messaging app to coordinate the donations.
The “Fever Control Command Center” of the city of Huanggang also issued a call for donations publicized by the state-run People’s Daily, asking for medical supplies, medicine and disinfection equipment. The notice added that for now they wouldn’t accept supplies from other countries.
The vast majority of cases were reported in and around Wuhan, but people who visited or had personal connections to infected people were among the scattered cases counted beyond the mainland.
South Korea and Japan both confirmed their second cases Friday and Singapore confirmed its third. Cases also have been detected in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
One case also has turned up in the US. A Washington State man in his 30s has been diagnosed after returning from a solo trip to Wuhan.
With Post wires