China completed constructing a large 1,000-bed makeshift emergency hospital in Wuhan in mere days to treat patients infected with the coronavirus amid the escalating epidemic.
The Huoshenshan Hospital covers 269,000 square feet and is expected to open on Monday, according to Beijing state media. Its construction from the ground up began on January 23 and was finished in just nine days on Sunday morning, local time.
More than 300 people have died in China from the new virus in less than two months and over 13,800 cases have been confirmed as of Sunday by the World Health Organization (WHO). Roughly 18,000 others are suspected of having contracted the virus, while nearly 330 have recovered since the virus broke out in December.
As a result of the outbreak, Wuhan, Tianjin and several other cities in China have been placed under lockdown by the government to prevent a global pandemic.
According to the National Health Commission, more than 14,380 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus worldwide.
The Huoshenshan Hospital is one of two hospitals that Wuhan city officials began constructing in the wake of the virus outbreak. The second facility, Leishenshan Hospital, will contain more than 1,300 beds and is situated roughly 25 miles away. Chinese authorities announced on Saturday that it is expected to open on Wednesday.
Fears over the virus’ spread has caused the U.S. to block foreign Chinese nationals from entering the country. President Donald Trump approved a proclamation to temporarily reject travelers who have been in China over the past few weeks. Officials began enforcing the rule from 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Although permanent American citizens and their immediate family members are exempt, those returning from China’s Hubei province are still required to remain under mandatory self-imposed quarantine for 14 days, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced on Friday.
Starting Sunday, American officials will attempt to contain the public health risk by transferring all flights arriving from China to just a few airports across the country, including Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.
During a White House news conference on Friday, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the public that the risk that Americans will contract the virus is still low. “I want to emphasize that this is a significant global situation and it continues to evolve. But I also want to emphasize again that the risk at this time, to the American public, is low,” he said.
His remarks come one day after the WHO’s director-general declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), following a recommendation from the body’s emergency committee.