• Deen Gabriel

Coronavirus: The hospital built in a matter of days

The Chinese city of Wuhan is building a hospital in just a few days, to treat patients suspected of contracting the coronavirus.

The 25,000-square-metre (30,000 sq yd) Huoshenshan Hospital, one of two new hospitals being built, is scheduled to open on Monday.

On 24 January, diggers were speedily clearing the ground where the hospital will sit.

China's health authorities say 304 people have died from the coronavirus, with more than 14,000 cases in the country and beyond.

There have been about 100 cases in another 22 countries, including two people in the UK.

The number of cases worldwide has surpassed that of the Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003.

There were around 8,100 cases of Sars - severe acute respiratory syndrome - reported during that outbreak.

The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, home to around 11 million people.

According to state media, the new Huoshenshan Hospital will contain about 1,000 beds.

China's official CCTV broadcaster has been hosting livestreams so people can watch the hospitals being built in real-time - and they have proved an unlikely hit.

The Global Times newspaper says more than 40 million people have been watching the livestreams in China.

The popularity of the footage has led to the construction vehicles earning unusual fame.

Cement mixers have found themselves with nicknames like "The Cement King", "Big White Rabbit" and "The White Roller".

Huoshenshan Hospital is based on Xiaotangshan Hospital, set up in Beijing to help tackle the Sars virus in 2003.

Xiaotangshan Hospital was built in seven days, allegedly breaking the world record for the fastest construction of a hospital.

"China has a record of getting things done fast even for monumental projects like this," says Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Just like the hospital in Beijing, Huoshenshan Hospital will consist of prefabricated buildings.

Mr Huang said that engineers would be brought in from across the country in order to complete construction in time.

"Engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed. This is very hard for Westerners to imagine. It can be done," he added.


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