Coronavirus quarantine hospital in Wuhan completes in just nine days

A prefabricated hospital with capacity for 1,000 patients has been built in nine days in Wuhan, China, which is the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese state confirmed yesterday that the first of two quarantine hospitals in Wuhan had completed in just over a week. It will start admitting the first 50 infected patients today, reported China Global Television Network (CGTN).

Called Huoshenshan Hospital, the facility has been handed over to 1,400 medical staff from the Chinese military.

The building took nine days to complete, with a total of 10 days between construction starting and the first patient being admitted.

The coronavirus hospital has opened in Wuhan
The hospital has capacity to treat 1,000 coronavirus cases. Stock image of surgical masks by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Construction workers in Wuhan laboured through the night to dig foundations, concrete building bases and to crane modular prefabricated-units into place.

At peak times 1,500 workers were reported to be on site. Workers interviewed on CGTN, which is funded by the Chinese state, said they had only slept for two hours in three days.

A second hospital in Wuhan called Leishenshan Hospital, will have a capacity of 1,500 patients. It is due to complete on 5 February and start admitting patients on 6 February.

Coronavirus is a new flu-like virus effecting the respiratory system. It causes a fever and a cough, which can progress to pneumonia.

In mainland China there have been over 360 deaths from the virus, and one death of a Chinese national in the Philippines. Currently there have been over 17,000 confirmed cases of infection, with 175 cases outside of China in 25 countries around the world.

Video reporting from CGTN showed units with ultraviolet disinfection technology installed in the walls, which will allow staff to pass equipment to and from treatment rooms without entering.

"With the support of the government and the people, we are sure to win this smokeless war," China's vice premier Sun Chunlan said when he inspected the hospital on Sunday 2 February.

This model for prefabricated hospitals was pioneered in China during the SARS outbreak in 2003. At that time, Xiaotangshan Hospital was built in Beijing in just seven days.

The city of Wuhan was put under quarantine on 23 January 2020, with all planes and trains in and out of the city suspended. Stations are being guarded by the military.

British and American nationals who have been evacuated by their governments were put under quarantine for two weeks in their home countries upon their return.