China Built Two Hospitals in Just Over a Week
Matthew Greenwood posted on February 10, 2020 |
Workers raced around the clock to build facilities to take on the coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese authorities announced that they were building two hospitals to address the coronavirus outbreak. Just 10 days later, the first one was completed—and the second was mere days behind.

The hospitals—the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, at the center of the virus outbreak, and the 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital in nearby Hubei province—were built to help beleaguered doctors cope with the rapidly escalating health crisis.

The two-story, four-wing 600,000-square-foot Huoshenshan facility—the first one completed—features an intensive care unit, patient wards, consultation rooms and medical equipment rooms, as well as separate quarantine wards to reduce the risk of cross infection.

It took only 10 days to build this!
It took only 10 days to build this!

The hospitals consist of prefabricated modules that are made from interlocking insulated panels. Each unit is about 100 square feet—big enough to accommodate two beds and medical support equipment. In addition, the units are depressurized so air is drawn into the rooms. This is a common practice used to prevent airborne organisms from escaping the room.

The hospital was built with prefabricated modules.
The hospital was built with prefabricated modules.

The units are on pillars to keep them off the ground—to prevent soil pollution and to accommodate pipelines. The foundation itself consists of concrete; under that surface are alternating layers of geotextiles, made of synthetic fabric, and waterproof mats.

On January 24, 2020, a battalion of bulldozers, trucks and excavators started rushing to clear and level the ground at the eight-acre Huoshenshan site. Days later, the foundations were laid and workers started assembling the frames of the units and building the field hospital. Staff, including 1,400 military medical workers, then arrived to set up and test medical devices, and prepare the facility to admit patients. And on February 4, the hospital admitted its first 50 patients—even as construction on the facility was still being completed.

It took 7,000 construction workers and 1,000 construction machines working 24 hours a day to build the facility. Workplace safety precautions were heightened during construction—workers regularly had to submit to temperature checks and other measures to detect any coronavirus infection.

That vigilance continues now that the construction has been completed. The finished rooms feature doubled-sided cabinets with ultraviolet disinfection systems that allow hospital staff to deliver supplies without having to enter occupied rooms and ventilation systems that quarantine the patients. The hospital also uses infrared scanners that can detect whether any staff member has a fever—a telltale sign of coronavirus infection.

Time-lapse video of the hospital construction.

This isn’t the first time that China has built a hospital at this pace. The two new hospitals are in fact based on the facility built to handle the SARS outbreak in 2003—a hospital that was built in only seven days.

Read more about other impressive construction feats in China at China Opens Massive New Daxing International Airport.

Recommended For You