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Monday, 03 February 2020 00:00cat

China hospital projects to treat coronavirus victims to be completed in 10 days

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Preliminary construction works for the Huoshenshan Hospital establishment Preliminary construction works for the Huoshenshan Hospital establishment Quartz

The Chinese government aims to complete 2 hospitals to treat coronavirus victims in just 10 days.

The facilities are currently being constructed in Wuhan, the city where the virus spread. The intention of the plan is to mitigate the virus outburst and contain it as much as possible. 

The existing hospitals are not capable of treating the numerous victims associated with the virus due to lack of rooms and medicines. The first hospital (Huoshenshan facility) is expected to be finished by February 3, 2020, while the second (Leishenshan hospital) by February 5, 2020. The two facilities will have 1,000 and 1,600 beds, respectively. Referring to Huoshenshan hospital, Joan Kaufman, lecturer in global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated: "It's basically a quarantined hospital where they send people with infectious diseases so it has the safety and protective gear in place."

Huoshenshan hospital is constructed using prefabricated elements. Its rooms will be completely assembled and delivered on site. The structural parts are joined together in a controlled environment and any deficiencies are addressed in the factory. According to Thorsten Helbig, founding partner of Knippers Helbig, an engineering firm, and Associate Professor at the Cooper Union in New York City, the technique is totally safe.  “You can definitely make pre-fab buildings structurally sound,” Prof. Helbig, stated.

The attempt to complete such a massive building in minimum time is not the first one in China. Back in 2003, a similar facility was established in Beijing in order to address the outburst of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) coronavirus. That hospital was completed in just a week. "China has a record of getting things done fast even for monumental projects like this. This authoritarian country relies on this top-down mobilization approach. They can overcome bureaucratic nature and financial constraints and are able to mobilize all of the resources," Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said.

The construction preparations began on January 24 when excavation works were conducted to level the ground and layers of concrete were poured above.

Obviously, a major question that arises is how China can achieve such a challenging task. Scott Rawlings, an architect who is currently involved in a large hospital project in Chengdu and 2 more in Hong Kong, explains that the facility is not a typical example of a hospital building. A normal hospital project requires time to be aptly designed in order to satisfy current and future demands. “I would hesitate to refer to the hospital being erected today in Wuhan as a permanent hospital, and it is certainly not a full-service facility. When we are designing the latter, we consider the building’s use and adaptability for 75 years into the future…China does not have that luxury in designing its new hospital in Wuhan,” Rawlings, stated.

According to recent updates, 213 victims associated with the virus have been reported in China while Russia and England have confirmed their first cases.

Sources: BBCDezeenQuartzWallStreetJournal


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