The Chinese city of Wuhan is rushing to build a new hospital within six days to treat patients of the coronavirus that has killed at least 26 people across the country and is overwhelming the quarantined city’s health system.
The 2019-nCoV virus, which had infected more than 870 people as of Friday morning, originated in Wuhan. China has closed down public-transport links in the city and at least nine others, sealing off a combined 30 million people.
Doctors in Wuhan have said that people seeking medical attention have waited hours in line, that screening the disease is difficult, that there is not enough protective gear, and that some doctors have been told at times not to go to work over fears they could catch the virus.
Wuhan authorities on Friday said a new, 1,000-bed hospital was being built for coronavirus patients to “address the insufficiency of existing medical resources,” the Associated Press reported.
Patients with the coronavirus are being treated in hospitals and fever clinics across the city.
The new hospital is to be built in six days and to be put to use February 3, the state-run news site The Paper reported, citing the state media outlet People’s Daily.
The hospital is to be made from prefabricated buildings – making it quicker and cheaper to build – on the outskirts of the city, People’s Daily reported.
Construction of the special hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds for patients with #nCoV2019 has begun in Wuhan, according to the model of the hospital built in seven days in Beijing to deal with #SARS in 2003. The construction is scheduled to be completed by February 3. pic.twitter.com/MtVgIG0liC.
The strategy is a repeat of how China dealt with the outbreak of SARS in 2003, which killed more than 770 people.
In April 2003, Beijing built in just seven days the Xiaotangshan Hospital, which the People’s Daily said treated one-seventh of China’s SARS patients at the time.
People’s Daily called that hospital “a miracle in the history of medicine.”
The Wuhan coronavirus can spread among humans and has already spread to some healthcare workers treating the infected.
It has spread to at least eight other countries: the US, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.
This map shows where it had spread as of Thursday:
These countries have quarantined people who are infected and are monitoring those who have been in close contact with the infected.
Other countries, including Scotland and Finland, have suspected cases.
Countries around the world are screening passengers in airports for symptoms and have quarantine procedures in place.