Building a hospital in 10 days: Footage shows rapid construction of new Wuhan hospital
An emergency facility in Huanggang, an hour’s drive from the coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan, has opened after workers and volunteers spent just two days converting an empty building into a 1,000 bed facility.
According to local media, the first batch of coronavirus patients were transferred to the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre at around 10:30pm local time today.
The building, originally intended as a new branch of Huanggang Central Hospital and expected to open in May, was converted into a coronavirus treatment facility within 48 hours thanks to the efforts of staff from construction firms, utility companies and paramilitary police officers.
In Wuhan, Chinese state media are livestreaming footage of the construction of a 1000-bed hospital that is being built in a bid 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 using prefabricated elements, and is expected to open before February 5, 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.
“It’s basically a quarantined hospital where they send people with infectious diseases so it has the safety and protective gear in place,” lecturer in global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, Joan Kaufman, told BBC.
“China has a record of getting things done fast even for monumental projects like this,” senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Yanzhong Huang, said, adding that the construction team were probably attempting to beat Beijing’s record of building a hospital in seven days.
“This authoritarian country relies on this top down mobilisation approach. They can overcome bureaucratic nature and financial constraints and are able to mobilise all the resources,” he said.
Mr Huang said that engineers would be brought in from across the country in order to complete construction in time.
“The 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.”
In terms of medical supplies, Wuhan can either take supplies from other hospitals or can easily order them from factories.
The government is also building a second, larger facility in Wuhan which will be called the Leishenshan Hospital, expected to open in 15 days.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus across China and other countries around the globe highlights the importance of preparing our health facilities, workforce and services for future health epidemics. This subject will be explored at Australian Healthcare Week 2020 on the 25-26 March in Sydney.