First patients admitted to new China coronavirus hospital built in 10 days

The first patients have arrived at a new hospital built in response to the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Work was completed on the site in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, on Monday just ten days after construction began on January 23.

The 1,000-bed site in Hubei province has been erected in double-quick time as China responds to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

On Monday, the country updated the death toll from the virus to 361.

  • Construction began at the site on January 23:

The ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, sent 1,400 doctors, nurses and other personnel to staff the Wuhan hospital, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Located 25km (16 miles) from Wuhan, the hospital is one of two built in the area in response to the outbreak. A second facility with 1,500 beds is due to open this week.

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

About half of the two-storey, 60,000-square-metre building is isolation wards, according to the government newspaper Yangtze Daily.

An isolation unit in the new Huoshenshan Hospital. Credit: AP

The pre-fabricated hospital has been modelled after the Xiaotangshan SARS hospital in Beijing.

The SARS hospital was built from scratch in 2003 in just six days to treat an outbreak of a similar respiratory virus which spread from China to more than a dozen countries and killed around 800 people.

The Beijing site is currently being renovated by construction workers but it is not yet clear if it will be used for patients with the new disease.

With no end in sight to the outbreak, authorities in Hubei and elsewhere have extended the Lunar New Year holiday break, due to end this week, well into February to try to keep people at home and reduce the spread of the virus.

The reopening of schools in the Hubei province have also been delayed in an attempt to keep people in isolation.

Transportation was shut down in Wuhan, the city of 11 million at the epicentre of the outbreak, and in at least 12 other cities in the province.

Foreign nationals living in the area are in the process of being repatriated on flights back home.

Nearly 100 British nationals and their families have been evacuated from Wuhan on two repatriation flights over the past few days.