Built in 10 days, China's virus hospital takes the first batch of patients

BEIJING: The first batch arrived on Monday at a specialized hospital built in just 10 days as part of China's intense efforts to combat a new virus. and a second facility with 1,500 beds that will open this week was built by construction teams that work 24 hours a day in Wuhan, the city in central China, where the outbreak was first detected in December. The majority of the 11 million people in the city are prohibited from leaving the area.

Wuhan treatment centers mark the second time that Chinese leaders respond to a new disease by building specialized hospitals almost overnight. As a severe acute respiratory syndrome or, propagated in 2003, a facility was built in Beijing for patients with this viral disease within a week.

The first group of patients arrived at Huoshenshan Hospital at 10 am Monday, according to state media. The reports did not give details of the identities or conditions of the patients.

The military wing of the ruling Communist Party, the People's Liberation Army, sent 1,400 doctors, nurses and other personnel to Wuhan hospital staff, the official Xinhua news agency said. The government said earlier that some have experience in the fight against SARS and other outbreaks.

Authorities have cut off most of the road, rail and air access to Wuhan and the surrounding cities, isolating some 50 million people, in an effort to contain the viral outbreak that has made more than 17,000 sick and killed more than 360 People

Huoshenshan Hospital was built by a crew of carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other 7,000-member specialists, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Photos in the state media showed workers wearing winter clothes, safety helmets and surgical-style masks that millions of Chinese wear in an attempt to avoid contracting the virus.

According to the government newspaper Yangtze Daily, approximately half of the two-story building and 60,000 square meters (600,000 square feet) are isolation rooms. It has 30 intensive care units.

Doctors can talk to outside experts through a video system that connects them to Beijing PLA General Hospital, according to Yangtze newspaper. He said the system was installed in less than 12 hours by a 20-member command team from Wuhan Telecom Ltd.

The building has specialized ventilation systems and double-sided cabinets that connect patients' rooms to the corridors and allow hospital staff to deliver supplies without entering the rooms.

The hospital received a donation of medical robots from a Chinese company for use in the delivery of medications and the transport of test samples, according to Shanghai newspaper The Paper.

In other cities, the government has designated hospitals to handle cases of the new virus.

In Beijing, construction workers are renovating Xiaotangshan Hospital built in 2003 for SARS. The government has not yet said whether it could be used for patients with the new disease.