Coronavirus patients arrived Tuesday at a Chinese field hospital built from scratch in under two weeks at the frontline of the outbreak, state media said, following around-the-clock construction marathon that became a national social media sensation.
The 1,000-bed facility was built to relieve hospitals swamped with patients in Wuhan, the city in Hubei province at the epicenter of the national health emergency that has killed more in China than the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Fifty patients arrived at the military-run facility, the state-backed China Daily reported, with images showing workers in protective suits pushing people in wheelchairs up a ramp and into the pre-fabricated structure.
The virus has killed more than 400 people and infected a further 20,000, nearly all of them in Hubei, and spread to two-dozen countries since it emerged in December at a market that sold wild animals in the city.
The World Health Organization has declared the crisis a global health emergency, and the first death outside China was confirmed in the Philippines on Sunday.
As reports surfaced of bed shortages in hospitals in Wuhan, construction began on Huoshenshan — “Fire God Mountain” in Chinese — on Friday, January 24.
Workers toiled day and night amid a forest of earthmovers and trucks carting materials around the site, southwest of the center of the city of 11 million.
On the side of one of the trucks, the isolated city’s new rallying cry — “Let’s go Wuhan!” — was written on a banner.