China has opened its first coronavirus hospital after about 500 workers and volunteers spent just 48 hours converting an empty building.
Two pop-up hospitals are currently being built from scratch to treat patients with the SARS-like virus that has killed more than 130 people in the country.
The first hospital, called the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre, opened with 1,000 beds in a disused building in Huanggang on Tuesday night.
It is expected to relieve some of the pressure on doctors and nurses in Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak – where overwhelmed hospitals were running out of beds, masks and other supplies as they were inundated with patients.
Hundreds of workers are racing to build a second hospital, called Huoshenshan or Fire God Mountain Hospital, from scratch.
Teams are aiming to finish the 1,000-bed
facility, which covers six acres in suburban Wuhan, in less than two weeks,
with the first patients expected to arrive on February 3.
A third hospital, also being built from scratch, is due to open on February 5 and there are plans for a fourth.
The third facility is called Leishenshan, or the
Thunder God Mountain Hospital.
It is also located in Wuhan, the city of 11million where the flu-like virus is believed to have spread to humans at a live wild animal market.
That 60,000-square metre (14-acre) facility will have 1,600 beds – 300 more than originally planned – and dormitories for more than 2,000 medical staff.
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