Watch a Time Lapse of China Building a Hospital for Coronavirus Patients in Just 10 Days

Jennifer Leman
Photo credit: Stringer - Getty Images

From Popular Mechanics

  • Authorities in Wuhan, China have begun construction on a new temporary hospital in the region, designed to isolate and treat patients of the coronavirus.
  • City officials plan to complete construction in just six days.
  • This isn’t the first time China has pulled off such an enormous feat; During the SARS outbreak in 2003, Beijing built a similar medical facility in just under seven days.

Update: Check out this incredible time-lapse video of the construction of Wuhan's temporary hospital, which ultimately took 10 days to complete. The video, courtesy of the BBC, shows twirling cranes and other construction vehicles zipping around the site.

Wuhan, China is the epicenter of a new type of coronavirus that has infected more than 830 people and killed as many as 26 throughout China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the United States. To tackle the crisis, the city began construction on a 1,000-bed temporary hospital in Wuhan’s Caidian district Thursday evening. Officials have said they plan to finish the project in just six days.

That's right: six days.

Hundreds of workers are already at the bustling six-acre construction site, operating diggers and other heavy equipment. According to the Changjiang Daily, more than 35 diggers and 10 bulldozers were dispatched to the scene Thursday evening—many from China Construction Third Engineering Bureau. Locals in the region told the South China Morning Post the city is paying workers as much as 1,200 yuan (about $173) per day in an attempt to quicken the pace.

Photo credit: Stringer - Getty Images

If you're wondering just how this is possible, Chinese officials have taken on such projects before, like when they built a similar temporary facility in Beijing during the 2003 SARS outbreak. Officials completed that hospital, which also held 1,000 beds, in just a week, by a workforce of over 7,000. Over the course of two months, the hospital staff treated nearly 15 percent of SARS patients there, according to the Post.

Sources told the Post that blueprints would be released by the Wuhan CITIC Design Institute today, and that the site would be “delivered for inspection” within six days. The prefabricated building will reportedly be one to two stories tall and will be composed of 20 “blocks,” which will house a yet-to-be-determined number of patients. Workers would even celebrate a Lunar New Year's Eve dinner at the construction site.

To combat the spread of the respiratory illness, China has decided to impose a travel limit on 35 million people in the region. No one from Wuhan or the 12 nearby cities will be allowed to travel in the coming days, even as the country celebrates the Lunar New Year, its busiest travel holiday.

Social media posts revealed a chaotic scenes at Wuhan’s medical facilities, with several patients being turned away due to a lack of personnel and resources. Several of the region’s hospitals have actually put out calls for the public to donate supplies including face masks, goggles, and medical gowns, The Guardian reported.

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