China builds 1,500-room hospital in five days amid COVID surge

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China is throwing up instant hospitals again to deal with its latest surge of COVID-19 patients.

A 1,500-room hospital to treat people with the coronavirus was finished Saturday after just five days of construction. The hospital is one of six with a total of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong, south of Beijing in Hebei province, The Associated Press reported. Another 3,000-room hospital is under construction in Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Hebei province.

After largely containing the virus that emerged in the central city of Wuhan in December 2019, China is seeing a new wave of infections that it apparently expects to get worse. A total of 645 people are currently being treated in Nangong, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said. Virus clusters were also found in Beijing and other provinces.

The speed at which the new hospitals are being built echoes the six-day effort that built several hospitals in Wuhan last January and February.

The government said the latest cases are spreading unusually fast, and blamed the latest surge on infected people or goods from abroad. “It is harder to handle,” a government statement said, according to The Independent. “Community transmission already has happened when the epidemic is found, so it is difficult to prevent.”

Also Saturday, the city government of Beijing said travelers arriving in the Chinese capital from abroad would be required to undergo an additional week of “medical monitoring” after a 14-day quarantine but gave no details.

Nationwide, the Health Commission reported 130 new confirmed cases in the 24 hours through midnight Friday. It said 90 of those were in Hebei.

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