contain and treat the spread of the Coronavirus, Chinese government officials,
architects, engineers and construction workers have built two hospitals in just
10 days. The two temporary hospitals, with a combined capacity of over 2 500
beds, have been operational since early February.
The Coronavirus is a strain of a disease that mammals and birds can carry. The virus spreads via airborne fluids that are transferred from infected subjects. Symptoms are flu-like for the most part but severe cases of the virus can cause upper respiratory failure and death. Mainland China has experienced 550 casualties so far.
The 1 000-bed facility named Huoshenshan opened its doors on February 3 while the larger, 1 600-bed Leishenshan facility was opened two days later. Both constructions are largely made up of a series of connected 100 square foot prefabricated units that can house two patients at a time.
After levelling the ground, construction began by first laying synthetic, waterproofed mats and then pouring a layer of concrete over these to create the base on which the structure is built. The units, which are specially designed to hook together, are built on top of large beams. The beams allow for piping and other materials essential to operations, while also acting as a buffer between the hospital base and the soil which is susceptible to contamination.
The hospitals are specially equipped to deal with the virus. Each facility has consultation rooms, supply storage rooms, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have depressurised rooms, minimising the flow of any airborne contaminants. There are also ICU units and a specialised quarantine area separate from other amenities.
The massive undertaking involved 7 500 workers and hundreds of heavy machinery vehicles. The rapid response and completion of the projects mirror the 2003 SARS outbreak in Beijing, where a similar treatment facility was completed in a little over a week.