China building 1,000-bed hospital in 10 days to treat coronavirus

The government of China is rapidly building a 1,000-bed hospital in Wuhan as part of its efforts to contain and treat patients suspected of contracting coronavirus.

Named Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital, the 25,000-square-metre facility is being built in the Caidian District in the west of the city of Wuhan to treat coronavirus patients.

At the time of writing the virus had infected almost 3,000 people in China and killed 81 people. The virus has spread across the region, with cases reported in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Cases have also been reported in the United States and France. At present there have been no deaths outside China.

Prefabricated hospital to open on 3 February

Aerial photography taken at the end of last week showed around 60 diggers clearing the site, while state-owned broadcaster CGTN is showing live footage of the work progressing day and night to build the hospital.

The quarantine hospital is being built using prefabricated elements and is expected to open on 3 February, 10 days after construction began.

Its design is reportedly based on the Xiaotangshan Hospital that was built within a week in Beijing during the SARS outbreak in 2003.

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

"This authoritarian country relies on this top down mobilisation approach. They can overcome bureaucratic nature and financial constraints and are able to mobilise all of the resources."

The local government is also building a second larger facility in Wuhan, which will be called the Leishenshan Hospital, reported China Daily. This hospital is expected to open in 15 days.

The city of Wuhan, which is in the central province of Hubei, is at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak. To restrict the spread of the virus the Chinese government has locked down Hubei's population of 60 million – enacting full or partial travel restrictions across the province.

Photograph is of Wuhan by Andrew Horne.