How can China build two hospitals in 10 days?

The Chinese city of Wuhan is set to complete a hospital in six days in order to treat patients suspected of contracting the coronavirus.

There are now about 10,000 confirmed cases in China, 213 of whom have died.

The outbreak began in Wuhan, home to around 11 million people. Hospitals in the city have been flooded with concerned residents and pharmacies are running out of medicine.

According to state media, the new hospital will contain about 1,000 beds.

Video footage posted online by Chinese state media showed diggers at the site, which has an area of 25,000 square metres (269,000 square feet).

After five days, progress could be seen on the once empty site.

It is based on a similar hospital set up in Beijing to help tackle the Sars virus in 2003.

“It’s basically a quarantined hospital where they send people with infectious diseases so it has the safety and protective gear in place,” said Joan Kaufman, lecturer in global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School.

How is China able to build a hospital in six days?

“China has a record of getting things done fast even for monumental projects like this,” says Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.

He points out that the hospital in Beijing in 2003 was built in seven days so the construction team is probably attempting to beat that record. Just like the hospital in Beijing, the Wuhan centre will be made out of prefabricated buildings.

“This authoritarian country relies on this top down mobilisation approach. They can overcome bureaucratic nature and financial constraints and are able to mobilise all of the resources.”

Mr Huang said that engineers would be brought in from across the country in order to complete construction in time.

“The engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed. This is very hard for westerners to imagine. It can be done,” he added.

In terms of medical supplies, Wuhan can either take supplies from other hospitals or can easily order them from factories.

The Global Times confirmed 150 medical personnel from the People’s Liberation Army had arrived in Wuhan.

(Some was quoted from BBC news.)

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