Chinese authorities have released satellite images showing how Wuhan’s first coronavirus hospital was built from scratch in a field at unprecedented speed.
Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital has received its first batch of patients after just 10 days of construction in the western suburbs of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak and the capital of Hubei Province.
This is the first medical centre built from the ground up to treat coronavirus sufferers. Huanggang, a city near Wuhan, opened a coronavirus hospital last Tuesday after converting an existing building into a dedicated facility.
The city of 14 million, which has been on lockdown for nearly two weeks, is preparing to open its second emergency facility on Thursday.
Death toll from the epidemic continues to rise in China as the country’s National Health Commission reported 64 new deaths overnight and Hong Kong saw its first victim today.
The deadly disease, which can spread between humans, has killed at least 427 people and infected more than 20,700 globally.
Pictures shared by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation on Sunday capture the dramatic changes of the landscape in Wuhan’s Caidian District before and after Huoshenshan Hospital was built.
Some 1,400 military medics were brought in from the People’s Liberation Army to run the new hospital, which comprises revamped shipping containers and prefabricated buildings.
The official Xinhua news agency said many of the staff were involved in the fight against another coronavirus, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed some 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003.
Construction of Huoshenshan Hospital started on January 24 and finished on February 2.
Each ward is equipped with two beds, a bathroom, a TV set as well as an air purification and disinfection machine.
Song Pengfei, a member of the medical team, told Xinhua News Agency that the hospital was stocked with more than 130 types of medical protective devices and 180 kinds of medicine.
A video released by state media People’s Daily shows doctors donning hazmat suits transporting patients from ambulances into the temporary medical centre this morning.
According to Changjiang Daily, the first group of patients come from three hospitals in Wuhan, including Hankou Hospital, Wuchang Hospital and Wuhan Central Hospital.
Huoshenshan is one of two new hospitals that were planned in Wuhan.
It is the second such hospital to have opened in China – after the first coronavirus hospital started to take in patients in Huanggang last Tuesday.
Another coronavirus hospital in Wuhan, Leishenshan Hospital, is due to receive its first patients on Thursday.
Around 2,000 medical workers are expected to treat patients in Leishanshan or Thunder God Hospital, which occupies 14 acres and has 1,600 beds. Ground was broken in Jiangxia District to the south of the city’s centre on January 26 and the project is due to be finished in the space of 12 days.
Wuhan authorities have also started to convert the city’s various sports hall into so-called ‘shelter hospitals’ for coronavirus patients with minor conditions.
Among them, Wuhan Hongshan Gymnasium was turned into a hospital overnight last night after staff and 39 volunteers carried 800 beds into its 20,010-square-foot game courts, according to Chutian Urban Daily.
More than 1,000 beds were also installed in Wuhan International Exhibition Centre last night.
Authorities plan to build more ‘shelter hospitals’ in the city’s Jianghan District, Wuchang District and Dongxihu District, reported China Daily.
Authorities from two Chinese provinces, Hubei and neighbouring Henan, have ordered at least four emergency medical centres to be constructed in a bid to stop the epidemic.
All of coronavirus hospitals are modelled on a medical centre called ‘Xiaotangshan’ in Beijing, which was built in 2013 in seven days to tackle SARS and treated one-seventh of the country’s SARS patients in the space of two months.
The government of Beijing is currently revamping Xiaotangshan to be a back-up coronavirus hospital, a government notice said.
China’s first coronavirus hospital opened in Huanggang last Tuesday after workers and volunteers had spent just two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed facility.
The epidemic’s official death toll spiked overnight by 64 to 425 cases in mainland China, plus one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.
Chinese authorities reported 3,235 new cases yesterday plus 58 as of noon today, taking the number of infections to above 20,700 worldwide.
Most of the infected patients and patients are in China’s Hubei Province.
The Philippines on Sunday became the first country outside of mainland China to have reported a case of death caused by the coronavirus.
Hong Kong today reported its first death after a 39-year-old man died in hospital this morning.