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Built in 10 days, China's coronavirus hospital takes first patients as death toll passes SARS

China has also made an appeal for medical masks and protective suits.

The Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan.
The Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospital in Wuhan.
Image: PA Images

THE FIRST PATIENTS have arrived  at a 1,000-bed hospital built in 10 days as part of China’s efforts to fight a new coronavirus.

Huoshenshan Hospital and a second facility with 1,500 beds that is due to open this week were built by construction crews who are working around the clock in Wuhan, the city in central China where the outbreak was first detected in December.

The Huoshenshan Hospital was built by a 7,000-member crew of carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other specialists, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Most of the city’s 11 million people are barred from leaving the area.

The first patients arrived at the Huoshenshan Hospital at 10am local-time this morning, according to state media. The reports gave no details of the patients’ identities or conditions.

The development came as China’s death toll from a new coronavirus jumped above 360 to surpass the number of fatalities of its SARS crisis two decades ago, with dozens of people dying in the epicentre’s quarantined ground-zero.

The 57 confirmed new deaths was the single-biggest increase since the virus was detected in Wuhan, where it is believed to have jumped from animals at a market into humans.

The virus has since spread to more than 24 countries, despite many governments imposing unprecedented travel bans on people coming from China.

Source: Guardian News/YouTube

The World Health Organisation has declared the crisis a global health emergency, and the first foreign death from the virus was reported in the Philippines yesterday. 

China also said it “urgently needs” protective medical equipment with more than 17,000 now infected.

Fears of the virus have spurred people in the densely-populated country of 1.4 billion to stock up on single-use surgical masks, while frontline medical personnel at the centre of the outbreak have reported equipment shortages.

“What China urgently needs at present are medical masks, protective suits, and safety goggles,” the foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a press briefing.

At full capacity, China’s factories are only able to produce around 20 million masks a day, according to the ministry of industry.

The foreign ministry said countries including South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Hungary have donated medical supplies.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2019

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