Wuhan to speed-build 1,000-bed hospital

Wuhan, the epicenter of the new coronavirus pneumonia outbreak, will build a 1,000-bed hospital to receive patients to ease the shortage of beds in the city, the city government said on Thursday night.

The mobile hospital, with a floor area of 25,000 square meters, will be completed before Feb 3, the government of the capital city of Central China's Hubei province added.

While a design plan for the hospital will be finished on Friday, the preparation for construction already started on Thursday night, it said.

The hospital will be a copy of Beijing Xiaotangshan Hospital.

The construction of the Xiaotangshan - the world's largest medical complex devoted solely to SARS patients - took six days and seven nights starting on April 23, 2003. A maximum of 7,000 construction workers worked at the site on an area covering 25,000 square meters in Changping, on the northern outskirts of Beijing.

Of 680 SARS patients hospitalized at Xiaotangshan only eight died, a mortality rate of merely 1.18 percent. That's why the hospital was dubbed "Noah's Ark" at the time.

On Thursday, construction machinery had already started to flatten the area in Wuhan Workers' Sanatorium in Caidian district, where the hospital will be built. The hospital's design, consisting of simply-equipped houses, will be finalized by Friday, Changjiang Daily, the official newspaper of Wuhan, reported.

It's absolutely necessary to build the hospital to ease the tension between the increasing demand by patients infected by the virus and insufficient medical resources, the newspaper quoted an anonymous expert as saying.

The number of confirmed pneumonia cases caused by the new coronavirus rose to 830 on the Chinese mainland as of Thursday midnight, an increase of 259 cases over a day before, China's National Health Commission said on Friday morning.

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